Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Tax Man Cometh

It's that day: 1040s are due. It's the one sure day in the year that everyone in the cmty will thank me.

As the "Designated Tax Matters Partner" at Sandhill, I mailed out seven envelopes today—a full three hours ahead of the mail pick-up. This evening, I got a request from a friend in Toronto asking if I could handle her US return. (How did she find out I had an opening so fast?)

It's not so much that I like doing taxes. It's more a matter of minding it least. It's like a jigsaw puzzle trying to get all the pieces to fit together, and I like puzzles. I also like knowing what's happening to the cmty financially and there's no better way than by delving into the bowels of our ledger books and teasing out the trends. This afternoon—with the tax returns safely consigned to the US Postal Service—I put together a dollar-per-hour analysis of our tempeh business. This evening I logged quarterly contributions for the Federation of Egalitarian Communities' self-insurance fund. (Once you get on a roll with this accounting thing, it's hard to stop.)

Doing taxes for the cmty is a great example of one of the prime benefits of group living: there's an excellent chance you'll be able to legitimately avoid the tasks you find most odious—because you'll be able to do something in exchange that isn't that big a deal to you but gives others the cold sweats just thinking about it. With luck, no one will have to do the things they dread the most. Whether it's cleaning the gutters or cleaning the toilets; changing oil filters or changing diapers; processing hot peppers or processing hot emotions, in cmty there's a terrific chance that you'll wind up doing less of whatever you find most vile than you would if you were living alone. And that makes everyone's life better (both because you don't have to do unpleasant things, and because you don't have to listen to others whine about their doing unpleasant things).

Handling taxes reminds me of all this, and over the years April 15 has become an opportunity to both be thanked for my doing cmty returns, and to be thankful in return for my doing cmty.

No comments: