Slices of Life: Tax time

I’d let them sit for weeks, well, because I had to pay in, and who wants to pay before they have to pay?

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler
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It was time to do taxes. What a great day it was!

Slices of Life: Cacophony of chatter, chaos and beauty

Everyone loves taxes, especially when they have to pay in, which I did this year. (Did I mention it was a great day?)

I’d let them sit for weeks, well, because I had to pay in, and who wants to pay before they have to pay?

But it was time. Almost mid-April and I had to get the job done. I hunkered down on a Saturday and vowed to crunch numbers and embrace the inevitable.

(Many hours later) I was finished — all i’s dotted and t’s crossed — and was ready to e-file. In the words of Disney’s Elsa, “Let it go, let it go!”


And let it go I did. I pressed send. Off went the 1040. Off went the state forms. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought about pouring a glass of wine.

Before I got the chance, the bing bing of an incoming email stopped my pursuit of fermented grapes. It was from the tax processing site.

My income tax return had been rejected.

Ho hum.

Slices of Life: Grief - episode 22,239

It seems the number I put in as my adjusted gross income from 2020 was incorrect. I wasn’t surprised. 2020 was a bit of a poop storm for me. When I filed taxes, I was in a deep fog of grief over the loss of my husband. I’m surprised I got them filed at all.

Last year, I failed to save a digital copy of my return. I have a hard copy, but it’s approximately 1,700 miles from my current location. Such is the state of affairs when one spends nearly a year living a fog.

But 2020 is old news. It’s now 2022, and we’re filing for 2021.

And in 2022, for 2021, if you don’t have your AGI for the past year, you can’t file online. It must be done the old fashioned way – with stamps and an envelope. My tax software kindly instructed me to print out (hard copy) my return and mail it via the good and reliable USPS.


I headed toward my closet, because where do you keep your printer if not in the bedroom closet? Silly question, I know.

While hanging out with my clothes and hangers, I got set to print the first pages of my tax returns. It was then that the printer spoke up, briefly, albeit loudly. We were out of ink.

And that is how I found myself, at 6:30 on a Saturday night, headed to the superstore for printer ink. I don’t have to tell anyone that the superstore is exactly the place I longed to be at 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday. That place was hopping! I was on fire.

Well, not on fire, per se, but I felt the hopping spirit — especially with Easter approaching and all.

Ink in hand, I checked out and headed to the car. I could nearly taste the finality of taxes 2021, and it was sweet.

Back in my bedroom closet, I loaded the ink and began printing the 2,000 or so pages needed for my federal and state income tax forms. Okay, maybe not 2,000 — let’s leave it at a rounded 1,837 — or so.

The pages spewed to the floor at my feet in no random order and I bent to pick them up. As I was doing so, I noticed two shoes sitting in front of me. They sat as a pair, but it was clear they were not a pair, which was weird because my shoes normally sit as pairs. I wondered where the other two mismatched shoes might be.

Then my eyes glanced down at my feet and I got my answer.


I was wearing the other two shoes from that mismatched pair. They were what I was wearing while at the store buying printer ink just 30 minutes prior.

It was now 8:00 on a Saturday evening. I finally let the printing commence. When it was done, I bundled everything up and packed the pages neatly into addressed envelopes — ready to send. I’d be bringing them to the post office in the morning, but for now the job was done.

It was time for a glass of wine.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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