TEXT OF STORY
MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Finished your taxes yet? If the answer is no and you haven’t filed for an extension, we all know what you’ll be doing today and probably tonight as well. No one enjoys filling out tax forms. We’ve all fantasized about not paying taxes. Some have actually done that. Trey Kay met up with one “tax-challenged” type who finally decided to make nice with Uncle Sam.
TREY KAY: Joan says numbers freak her out.
JOAN: I’m a math phobic. I have a fear of all sums.
And this phobia extends to money.
JOAN: I had always had somebody else do my taxes for me. My father did my taxes for me. And then my husband did the taxes. And then after we split, well, I just didn’t have time.
But the IRS had the time to track her down. One day, Joan received a letter saying she owed $50,000 in taxes.
JOAN: Death and taxes, you can’t avoid them. That’s the old saying. Death and taxes you can’t avoid them. Don’t even try.
She can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t too funny back then.
JOAN: Every time I got one of these notices, I got this funny little feeling in my gut . . . and feel like I had nails and fingernails scraping in the palms of my hands. And I was just like “Oohh, I don’t like this feeling.”
You know, the IRS doesn’t like that feeling either. This year, Uncle Sam expects to lose $27 billion from people not filing their taxes.
JOAN: I feel so sorry for people who let themselves get into this situation. And we do, we kind of let ourselves or something happens. I mean, if I hadn’t gotten that inheritance and been able to clear that tax bill, I probably would be in jail. I would certainly have ulcers, probably weigh 700 pounds, because I’d been eating my way out of it.
Now Joan files her taxes every year — with the help of an accountant that she swears by.
I’m Trey Kay for Marketplace.
As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.
Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.
Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.