I have new appreciation for Benjamin Franklin’s comment that, “in this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes.” Death certainly does not eliminate taxes for surviving widows or give them a gentle reprieve! Los Angeles County grants no discounts on property taxes to senior citizens or widows! I got a nice whopping property tax bill in the mail this past week that I failed to budget for. Income taxes I was prepared for—property taxes were off my radar. Thankfully, I’ve had some extra income from speaking engagements, and I’m expecting money owed from last years income tax return to arrive any day now. It would appear that the Lord is definitely more on top of things than I am and has made provision for the forgotten property taxes! (Jeremiah 49:11 – “…and let thy widows trust in me.”) I am convinced that it would be a great help to widows and widowers if they would establish a relationship with a good CPA before death, because the surviving spouse will likely need their services after.
Ah yes, taxes. That would involve numbers and numbers are definitely not my favorite thing. Think “total bewilderment” with the income tax form process because all I’ve ever done at tax time is sign my name to the forms Tom “magically” prepared. What the word “taxes” produces in me is shear dread without Tom’s math genius. So last spring when taxes came due at a highly stressful time shortly after Tom’s death I made a decision. Gulp. Income taxes could wait.
Widowhood has taught me an interesting lesson: When life is in the throes of massive rearrangement due to a death, putting off nonessential stressors (note the word “nonessential”) can be a good option. People do strange things when they are old and stressed, like drive up to a mailbox and give their Mc Donald’s order. Or drive into the wrong end of the car wash. (People get so excited about that.) Take my word for it, sometimes it is necessary for one’s wellbeing to hold off on some things. There are some tasks that need to be done after a death that people want you to do NOW that really don’t need to be done NOW.
Because I knew we were getting a refund rather than a income tax bill, I knew there would be no penalty for waiting and letting the government hang on to what it was going to owe me—interest free. They like being able to keep our money. (Just don’t try to keep theirs.) So yes, I designated doing income taxes (due last April) as low priority on my “adjusting to widowhood” to do list. I would rank getting an appointment with the “tax guy” and gathering all the papers required to file last years tax forms and having to explain Tom’s death to our accountant up there with waterboard torture. Therefore, it has remained on my low priority list for several months. Until this past week, that is.
I was actually quite happy that our “tax guy” emailed to remind us he needed documents if we wished him to finish preparing our 2017 return. It gave me the opportunity to write to him rather than speak on the phone about Tom’s death (email is more preferable). Gathering the needed documents wasn’t as horrid as I had imagined and having the option of letting the accountant do all the math made my job of “signing” that much happier. All this was done the week before I got the whopping LA property tax bill. Ah what timing.
Am i upset about needing to pay taxes? Nah. Jesus paid taxes (to a corrupt Roman government) and He provided the means for Peter to pay his taxes as well. I think He has my tax situation well under control. Such is the heritage of God’s children. At the moment, I’ve got more pressing things to be concerned with, like a water leak in my yard and counseling classes next week for a fabulous group of women in Pennsylvania!
Luke 20:25 – And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.