Being a bookkeeper for our ranch is not one of my strong points. I would rather spend my time outside dealing with cow-related problems but the IRS won’t let me use that as an excuse.
Much to my relief, my husband and I recently got our taxes done and it will likely be another year before I start 2011’s book work.
I consider myself an organized, efficient person but these skills donâ€™t apply to the required recordkeeping thatâ€™s needed for our ranch. I know there are easier and more organized ways to keep track of ranch expenses, ranch-related purchases and income from our cow-calf operation but I donâ€™t have the willpower to establish a better way than waiting until January and February to get started.
There are ranch wives out there who do a much better job than I atÂ regularly updating the books. SomeÂ use a computer to do the work for them but for me, that would mean Iâ€™d have to take extra time to enter everything, which Iâ€™m not willing devote any more time to the computer in order to do. Instead, I cram all my bookwork in a short period of time like a college student the night before a big exam.
I tell myself every year when I am forced to workÂ inside to get all of our bookwork ready for our tax man, that I need to stay on top of the bookwork throughout the year. I make promises to myself and have even devised several different ways to make it easier for me to maintain, but once weâ€™ve visited our taxman, I am so glad that our taxes are done that I canâ€™t bring myself to follow through on the next yearâ€™s plan. I make the mistake of telling myself I have lots of time to get it started, so why not reward myself with a little break from the bookwork.
As a result, I put it off until itâ€™s time to do it all over again. I do the minimum throughout the year, which entails filing all of our receipts by month to record later. When itâ€™s time to work on taxes, I get out my table, ledger, 10-key calculator, accordion file of the yearâ€™s receipts, and boxes of checks written throughout the year.
This is what a section of my living room looks like for a few days. Or weeks.
I sort through what to keep and what needs tossed or shredded,
then Â I organize, compile, record, add up, staple together, and fill in the figures in our handy-dandy tax packet provided by our tax preparer.
Getting the information gathered and recorded is quite simple to do but I just canâ€™t seem to get enthused about getting started when thereâ€™s so many other interesting jobs to do, like cleaning out the muck in the barn, packing feed buckets or pushing up hay; even cleaning house is more appealing than spending time working on taxes. Don’t ask me why it’s such a big deal or I’d have to tell you.
Getting our information ready for our taxes is aÂ drag to meÂ but there isÂ one good thing I can say about the task. It not onlyÂ inspired meÂ to clean my house butÂ gave me something toÂ write about for my column. I wrote two different columns about my feelings towards doing taxes. I wrote both on days when I was thinking that I should get started on taxes but found it much easier to write about why I donâ€™t like doing them.