Tag Archives: advice

No, no you may not ask me a tax question

FoldersMy parents own and run an income tax preparation service. And every year, I fly down for a few months to help them through “tax season.” Basically, everyone in Nashville just knows I disappear for about two months to “help do taxes” and then suddenly I am back after April 15th.

There is one big mistake in that assumption.

I don’t “do taxes.”

My parents do taxes. Specifically, my dad does taxes. He’s an Enrolled Agent, and that makes him pretty much a bad ass in regards to preparing tax returns. He takes pride in his work and he’s not going to “cheat” the system either way. When he does a return, he does it after having done all his homework. If his name goes on the bottom of the return, he’s going to stand behind his work.

I recently did a post over on Road Widows about bus driving, and I commented in it that I myself get really irritated and angry when I hear about careless drivers. In the same way, when I hear about tax preparers cheating the system to “get you the biggest refund” or they do extra work to charge their clients more money, I get angry.

I’ve worked for/with my parents long enough that I do have a decent grasp on some portions of the tax code. I mean, I found great amusement in my reaction to the report on New Years Day about twin babies born minutes apart, but technically in two different years. My reaction: “Bummer, they only get to claim one of them as a dependent this year on their tax return!” I can tell you a lot of the basics with complete certainty…

…but generally I won’t do it, even if I can.

148: FoldersBecause I DON’T DO TAXES.

“But you go to Texas for tax season every year…”

Yes, yes I do. I do clerical work. I like to say that I make the returns “look pretty” by putting the finished product in folders. Putting labels on the folders. Addressing envelops for payments to the government to be sent in by the tax payer. I do the occasional spreadsheet, etc. I may lay my hands on a return, but I don’t do any of the figuring or any of the work.

I’m not trained in the tax code officially, and I refuse to give advice.

So, if you come to me asking tax questions you’ll probably get me to listen. I’ll nod along. I might even ask a couple questions. Then I’ll end it with, “Well, I’ll run that by my Dad and get back to you.” Because HE knows the tax code. I do not. I will not answer your questions. And I ask you kindly respect that fact… because I am looking out for all of us in that. You can know you’re getting the correct answers, and I can rest easy knowing I didn’t give bad advice. Its win/win. Honest.

Advice to tourists

Nashville is gearing up for its busiest week of every year next week: CMA Fest (or as I’ll probably refer to it, Fan Fair). We’re all already bracing for the on-slaught of country music fans and tourists.

CMA Fest 2012

WE LOVE YOU! Don’t take the grumbling the wrong way. We know that this city flourishes thanks to country music fans, and this coming week pretty much keeps this city going year-to-year. Most of us are here now, because we were tourists ourselves at some point.

We grumble because all too often. tourists make every-day things very difficult. So let me help you not be one of those tourists we all hate with three simple tips.

1. Keep it moving. Nothing is more frustrating that trying to get to work and have the car in front of you come to a stop and someone hang out the window with a camera to take a picture. Either pull over, keep moving and come back later, or park and walk around. Just remember that this city has thousands of people who LIVE HERE who need to go to work, to the store, to the doctor, etc. Stopping traffic to take a picture is a quick way to be hated.

2. Pay attention to signs or map your route ahead of time. I heard this city once described as a spider web of Interstates. We have loops and then interstates that expand out from/though the loops. Its not THAT hard to get around, but you do need to pay attention. If you need I-40, and the lane you are in splits off to go onto I-24… start planning to move over when you see the sign that the split is a x-mile away. Nothing is more frustrating that someone wanting to move over last second, or the very second they see the sign that their split is approaching. Think about it… you have a mile to move over. Use that distance wisely and act like you know what you’re doing. Don’t be that tourist that backs up the interstate because you’re not paying attention and/or thinking.

3. Watch the locals or ask the locals. The best example I can give you for this isn’t about Nashville, but about when I visit Oregon. My husband told me the first time I visited with him, “Don’t carry an umbrella, you’ll stand out as a tourist.” I started to look around and he was right. Locals didn’t bother with umbrellas, but the tourists sure did! Now I’m not saying to not be yourself! Guess what, people in Nashville don’t wear boots every day. But… I do. That’s just who I am. I’ve been a cowboy-boot-wearin’ girl all my life, and I’m not going to change that. But if you go buy a pair of boots to wear in Nashville thinking it’ll help you “fit in” — you’ll be throwing your money away. (That’s just an example!)

As for asking the locals… don’t go by some tour guide and commercialization about where to go here. Ask a local where they suggest you go eat or visit. You’ll often find some major gems along the way AND you’ll avoid all the other tourists giving yourself a much more unique experience.

 CMA Fest 2012

Welcome to Nashville and we hope you enjoy your stay! Now please help US enjoy your stay. Ha!