This time of year there are things we have to do and things we want to do. Like dentist’s appointments, taxes fall under the have to do, but I was pleased that my annual trip to see my CPA, Jim Lowe, was a mostly pleasant one. Outside of Jim’s office on Montgomery Street in Chicopee, lives a cardinal. And on the inside of the picture window is a red stuffed teddy bear. As we sat going over my taxes, the cardinal kept dive bombing the window, smashing up against it in an attempt to vanquish his perceived rival…the inanimate teddy bear. It must have been that color that keeps the cardinal so angry. Jim said he’s been his neighbor for years, since the species usually doesn’t move after the find a suitable nest.
Jim is a pleasant fellow, and he lived through the bombing on the Marines in Beirut in 1982. That was probably one of the first terrorist attacks, way before we knew anything about Al Queda and 9/11. He has a photo of the bombed Marine barracks on the wall. He is a former Marine, but a gentle guy, doesn’t really fit whatever stereotype I might assign to a former Marine.
I asked Jim about how many people come in these days having depleted their IRA accounts early, and not sent in the 40% taxes. He said some times they say they thought it was their money and they didn’t have to pay. It is a rude awakening to owe 30 percent plus the ten percent penalty if you’ve drawn down your IRA. But many people these days have to, and in general Jim said that for many of his clients things are tough. “One guy, a contractor, said no matter how low he tries to bid a a job, even at prices from five years ago, there’s someone who will do it cheaper. He’s laying off employees and swinging a hammer himself now, just to get by.”
I appreciated that Jim gave me a break on the taxes, and even though I have to pay money, it’s a good feeling to earn way more one year than you did last. My feeling is that making money and paying taxes is better than not doing either.