Panic

“Panic is the primal urge to run and hide in the face of imminent disaster. It is a sudden fear which dominates or replaces thinking and often affects groups of people or animals. Panics typically occur in disaster situations, or violent situations (such as robbery, home invasion, a shooting rampage, etc.) which may endanger the overall health of the affected group. The word panic derives from the name of the Greek god Pan, who is said to have the ability to cause fear of lonely or open places.”

Source, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

For us accountants, panic is when you realize there’s only 14 days left to file a complete and accurate tax return. Panic is when you scramble to your accountant’s office and expect your taxes to be completed even though you’ve only given them 2 days to do it. Panic spreads as friends, neighbors and family collectively gasp, “We haven’t done our taxes yet!!” Panic is the major cause of amended returns every year.

Panic keeps all of us on our toes, tests our patience and professionalism, breaks all diets and even puts stress in our relationships. Only the strong (or truly insane) survive The Season. This will be my sixth year of doing so. I am either growing incredibly strong or sublimely certifiable.

Every year at the beginning of the year, we prepare our clients for The Season to try and reduce the panic come April. Sometimes it works, sometimes it blows up in our faces. As defined above, panic “replaces thinking” and consequently creates an environment of hostility and irrationality. Normal, rational and maybe even polite individuals, once panicked, transform into spitting, slobbering, ankle-biting assholes.*

But despite all the damage panic does to my calm, it is a driving force in our industry. TurboTax claims that they can eliminate the need for tax professionals in the near future. TurboTax, I laugh at thee! Ha! HA! As long as there are lazy individuals out there, I’ll be here working late nights and Saturdays. As long as there are unscrupulous individuals willing to pay me to lie to the IRS, I’ll be here crossing my fingers. As long as the IRS keeps making long, convoluted and mind-numbingly boring rules, I’ll be here chugging coffee till the wee hours of the night. And for you people who are completely and pathetically clueless about your money, you know where to find me. Just. Don’t. Rush. Me.

People fascinated with the study of human behavior (as I am) should spend a week in our office, especially the week before the deadline. Or if you can’t get to our office, walk on over to your nearest post office and you’ll see almost the same behavior.

Ps. Jeanette, try to avoid your post office for the next two weeks.

*I would like to apologize for exaggerating. I am too short for them to bite my ankles.

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~ by Binibining Beth on April 3, 2007.

6 Responses to “Panic”

  1. Oh, sheez. You’re absolutely right. I totally forgot about The Panic. Today I went to my post office and there was virtually no one there. That, I’m sure, will change tomorrow. Oh! And there’s construction occurring at the major street near my post office. A double whammy!

    I wish you luck, my dear. See you on the other side.

  2. Hmmmm…. I haven’t filed my taxes yet…

  3. I filed my taxes LAST year.

    I probably used that Simpsons joke last year, too, but it’s a good one.

  4. My mother is my accountant.

    Pro: Get my tax done early every year.

    Con: Know how much of my income is spend on porn.

  5. J – the IRS has been pushing the e-file program so maybe in a year or two, the line at the post office will not be as crazy. With e-file, you can file your returns while in your jammies! 😀

    Inanna – you got plenty of time! You actually have till April 17th (Tuesday) to file your Federal return. Feel free to call me if you need help.

    Michael – hhm…I looked through my archives and didn’t see you making that joke. But it is a good joke. I keep making the same one about Kent Brockman on reporting people who are caught for tax avoision.

    Anh – yeah, you can learn a lot from someone’s tax return. Someone filing single with no dependents, has a mortgage and not collecting disability is the perfect man! 😀

  6. I used Turbo Tax and it wasn’t the preparation that got me…it was the e-filing. It’s a long story but somehow my return ended up in purgatory. I called their (non)tech support. The “tech” support told person on the other line told me to do things like change the freakin resolution in my screen, change my browser, blah blah blah. WTF if it was a freakin client side issue I freakin wouldn’t be freakin calling tech freakin support don’t they freakin know that???

    Where’s my inhaler?????

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