Ah, tax season is upon us once again. I hoped to be a bit more prepared this year because last year we were hit with a few surprises and owed more than we had anticipated, and it was something both my husband and I didn’t want to go through again. Never mind that just before April 15 is April 10, the day that property taxes are due, so talk about a double whammy.
That said, this year we had a little more taken out of our paychecks and regardless of the inflation and high gasoline prices, we marched on.
I prepare for my taxes each year as I’ve done for decades: I use a 9-by-12 manila envelope and write the year on the top right corner. I use a marker and a ruler, and I write all the items down that I will need to bring to my accountant’s office. From the amounts for each of our car’s registration fees for the year, to the amount we paid in both April and December for our property tax. Then the statement that shows the mortgage interest, and any 1099s received. The statement for “realized capital gains,” and receipts I have from donating to Goodwill or other organizations.
Oh, and don’t forget the 1095-B forms to prove we were covered by health insurance and our W-2s, et al.
I’ve had the same accountant for over 25 years. He is a man of honor, integrity and kindness. He is stoic in his approach and when I visit him each year and bring my antiquated manila envelopment with my handwritten doodle notes of everything that I need to bring with me, he never does anything but greet me with a smile and genuine care. Every year when I go to my appointment, I bring a box of doughnuts to their office. They are a quiet bunch, so you can only imagine what it’s like when Jen’s energy and loquacious nature opens the door with a resounding hello!
A few months prior to making my appointment, I would silently pray to the man above to please help us not to owe too much, understandably even a little bit would be fine but to please make it palatable. I am the kind of person who is proactive. Usually, I get our taxes done in late February and that gives us time to plan accordingly. But this year, I made my appointment for March 16. To me that was a good sign, 3-16.
There’s a part of me deep inside that I hold near and dear to my heart. And for those of you who read my columns you’ll know that because I have mentioned that I always for look for the signs. One of the things that I take great comfort in is seeing the numbers 316. The more obvious is that it stands for John 3:16 and for that verse: God, our Father in Heaven, loves us immensely. His greatest gift to humankind, His Son, Jesus Christ, reflects that love. John 3:16 in the Bible describes God’s love and His plan for the happiness of His children.
So once again being a “Vehicle of Prayer” for myself, I asked the man above to please show me that I didn’t need to worry about my upcoming tax appointment, and to please show me the numbers 316 when I needed that “gentle reminder.” Lo and behold a couple of weeks leading up to my appointment I happened to glance at my cellphone when it did the weekly screen update about the usage and it said, your screen time was down 3 hours and 16 minutes this week. And then again, the numbers would appear in random places and with each sign, I said, “Thank you, Lord!”
But the coup de grace was the day of my appointment. I drove to the San Fernando Valley to my accountant’s office, parked the car, got into the elevator, and pressed No. 3, the floor where his office is located. The elevator stopped and I got out and as I exited, I saw an office placard on the wall and it said, 316 with an arrow facing right to show where that office was. I went the other way to my accountant’s office and opened the door and greeted everyone, put the box of doughnuts on their table and asked how everyone was doing.
Once inside my accountant’s office, after catching up from the year, and he is plugging all the numbers in, he said, “Well, on your federal taxes you are going to owe this year, but nothing like last year.” And then he said, “On your state taxes you are getting a refund.” I was elated. I thanked him and shared with him my 3:16 signs and especially the one as I exited the elevator. He smiled and listened, and I continued to thank him profusely. I gathered my things, the paperwork and my manila envelope and wished him a very good year.
Driving home I made a stop at my dad’s office, told him the good news, hung out and watched the beautiful blue sky from his office. After the recent storms, this day was the first one that was clear and sunny. I hugged my dad goodbye and drove home. I was lucky to be able to work remotely for the remainder of the day and as I was getting all my stuff out of my car, I saw the Culligan soft-water truck doing the deliveries. I left the garage door open. I greeted the gentleman, and he rolled the new tank into the garage and proceeded to take the old one out so he could put the new one in.
He had a little sticker that he put on the tank with the date of the delivery, it said 3-16. I smiled and said, “Thank you, that will bring a smile to my face every time I see it.”
He said, “Oh yeah, John 3:16.”
I replied, ‘Indeed my friend, indeed.”
I gave him a fresh bottle of water and told him to have a great day and to enjoy the signs that come his way because they are truly comforting.
Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.