Our Smartest Decision in Retirement – Tax Day, Not Taxing

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2015

If you’re like hubby, Chris, and me, you’ve dreaded tax time for more years than you want (or hate) to admit.

“Chris!” I called.  I dropped my book bag by the front door and headed to the bedroom after BIBLE session on Thursday.  “You gotta hear what David announced before he began class.  He flew his hands up and said, ‘Jean and I are so relaxed today.  We decided to try the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide service right here on campus.’  He said there was no stress.  It was done, over, and they left.  It’s for anyone. Then he said it was FREE!”

Chris put his book down and raised his eyebrows. “So, what are you thinking–that maybe we should check it out, too?”

“Heck, yeah,” I said “first thing next week.  Monday’s Presidents’ Day, so they’re probably not working.  We’ll go on Wednesday. They volunteer on Mondays and Wednesdays.”

“Fine,” he said. “I’ll have the taxable interests from savings and accounts ready.”  By evening he had lined the papers in neat little stacks on our long dresser.

I gathered last year’s forms, plus income /receipt figures for the crafts I’d consigned in the campus gift shop.

Monday’s holiday came quickly.  Tuesday was going to be very busy, and I’d forgotten the volunteers’ hours for Wednesday.  The Panorama reception desk—they’ll tell me!  I dialed to ask.  Carol said, “Mary Jo, they work from one till five, and they’re working today, even though it’s a holiday.  You don’t need an appointment.”

“Wow, thanks, Carol!!”  I slammed the phone down.

“Chris, we’re going now! They’re working today–perfect timing!  Wednesday’s already busy with the Lenten Service in chapel, Dot’s travel talk in the auditorium, and the neighborhood birthday party at five.  We grabbed our papers.  Chris hopped on his bike, and I enjoyed the walk to the Chalet, visiting with a new resident taking her first stroll admiring the campus and flowers popping out already.

On lower level Chalet, we entered the great activity room.  We passed the computer learning center, then greeted friends bent over pool tables with queue sticks.  I smiled at the piano I love to play.  Little vases showed off flowers of all colors in the center of several dozen round tables with chairs.  There were two rows of long tables with twelve volunteers tapping laptops.  A friendly AARP volunteer gave us a yes/no questionnaire to complete, saving time at the computer later.

Someone checked our completed questionnaire and took us to Bob who filled in the tax form at his laptop.  When he finished, Frank sat at Bob’s computer to double-check the entries.  We signed. Got a copy.  Bob tapped SEND.  We were done, and it was FREE!  We couldn’t thank ‘em enough.

Chris checked his watch, “I’m just in time to go to Don’s apartment to watch the DVD of the BIBLE study we missed last Wednesday at church.” Outside again, we kissed good-bye.  He sailed off on his bike.

My heart beat with excitement as I spanned the lovely path home, eager to sit down to write this blog.  I just had to share our tax day—one that was not taxing.  Another Panorama perk!

Mary Jo Bio

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