Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Tax-ing Promise

Dear self,

Promises are sure meant to be broken, especially after deadlines are over and the pressure is lifted. Nevertheless, I’ll try to promise myself, just to keep up to the ritual of making and breaking promises. I promise that henceforth I will keep my important documents in order. Medical bills, electricity bills, tax documents, everything barring those letters trying to sell me free credit cards or car insurance (though I don’t have a car) and sentimental letters asking me to make a donation to the cause of victims will go in a separate box bought especially from Ikea and will be attended to immediately. Tax return filings will not be procrastinated till the deadline henceforth, especially since I have figured out that it can take months of procrastination (3 months in my case) but just one hour of focused effort to get my taxes done. However, big words, you know why? You see, there is this W2 form, an important piece of document that has all the figures related to your income and expenditure except how much you pay for buying clothes every month. Sometime during shifting apartments a few months back, I misplaced my W2 form. To make matters worse, I was supposed to fill in 2 W2 forms this year, the penalty for remaining in school half of the year and then working the other half of the year. I did get dirty looks on informing the office that I would need a duplicate copy of my W2 form, and that too 1 day before the deadline of the tax filing. The second W2 form would need some special pulling strings to achieve, since I didn’t go to school anymore. But all this would mean I would miss the deadline for filing tax returns. Needless to say, I decided to pillage my home to find the two original W2 forms.

Pillage I did everywhere. Cushions were upturned. Drawers were emptied. Cupboards, clothes, drawers, everything was ransacked. The good thing about bathrooms and kitchens and balconies are that I am not really known to keep papers there. But that still leaves the bedroom and the living room to plunder. Shelves, racks, chests, cupboards, no stone was left unturned to find the two W2 forms. Funny, I found ten other documents I was looking for in the process, unpaid electricity bills, receipts from the Kabab place I had dined at 6 months ago, free credit cards from companies I have never heard of, receipts for the Walmart shopping I did 2 years ago, little hand written grocery lists, and so on. I even found the Macy’s receipt for the dress I bought last summer and couldn’t return (because I couldn’t find the receipt then), receipts for unpaid electric bills, and the envelope of my graduation pictures I have been looking for ever now. But the W2 forms were still missing.

To cut a long story short, the W2 forms were finally found, after a couple of hours of ransacking the house, missing out on the evening dinner party, after endless hours of squatting and searching on my knees in the remotest of places (like under the bed), cursing under my breath every time my bones creaked, making a resolution in the process to hit the gym for the endless time now after re-discovering my unsurprising loss of body fitness. Careful me had nicely stored the forms in a big file got from India to especially hold my important documents. The file was again carefully stored in the suitcase, beneath layers of junk like speakers, unused electrical wires, and various little paraphernalia (like band aids, of all things). And why may I ask the thought of checking the suitcase never occurred to me?

Because 2 weeks back, while rehearsing for the play, I had kept the suitcase on one of my dining table chairs, using it as a prop to hold my script at eye level for me to read and perform.

And this post is dedicated to all the hours lost, not just looking for documents, but for procrastinating, fretting, panicking, making my life miserable, and early-ing my process of ageing and getting white hair and sleepless nights for nothing. Age should bring wisdom. Not forgetfulness and procrastination.



Suryansh said...

AFAIK all W-2's are online in most companies and most schools. No need to fret about them anymore.

Too bad you had to go through the will be wiser next time :)

Pavi!!!! said...

Good Luck wit ur new zeal to do things on time!