Well, it’s tax day. Today is the last day to file – that’s of course if you owe – without penalty and late fees if you don’t mail them by midnight with an April 15th postmark. If the government owes you, you’re not legally required to file today. Mine are all done, though. I finished them weeks ago. But I had to file on Mack’s behalf as a surviving spouse, and I finished them on April 13th. I sent them yesterday. I kept putting it off because every time I attempted to complete them, it became a painful reminder that Mack is no longer here. So I avoided dealing with it until the last possible moment. But I got through it, pain and all, and I have that hurdle behind me.
When I think of taxes, I recall what it was like as a child. My parents would frequently wait until the last day to file. Dad would hand-carry it to the post office. He’d ask me, “Want to go for a ride, Chief?” That’s what he called me sometimes, Chief. I was always glad to ride along. We’d go to the main post office in downtown Atlanta. That was apparently the only location nearby where you could get your envelopes postmarked April 15th. It was crazy and funny at the same time. Maybe it was more of a tradition for everyone to wait until the 15th to finish their taxes, more so that than procrastination. People didn’t even need to get out of their cars. There were long lines of drivers handing their tax envelopes out their car windows to postal employees who were waiting there to receive them. From my recollection, it was very efficient. With the increase in e-filers, I suppose not many people mail hard copies of their taxes these days.
Here’s a tax fact that surprised me. Millions of dollars in refunds go unclaimed every year. Did you know that you can choose to file late if the government owes you a refund, but after three years, you forfeit it? I don’t know why people don’t just go ahead and file. Most years, I file as soon as I have all necessary documents. I want everything that I’m due.