Mom and taxes

Every year around this time, my mom starts threatening me. My mom is a really lovely person. She generally is willing to buy me milk from the store, lets me eat dinner at her house every night, and would probably do my laundry if I asked her. She's not just kind and generous to her children, but to the world at large.

You, too, could probably eat dinner at her house and sleep on the couch in the living room. If you're sick, my mom will go to the store and buy coconut water and the expensive ramen (which is always a little disappointing to me, because I hate coconut water and really prefer the cheapest ramen money can buy). But as sweet and generous as the woman is, she's been escalating in her threats to me for the last couple of years.

Every year my mom tells me this is the last year she'll do my taxes for me. Every year I nod my head and agree (always try to pacify someone making threats; I learned that from watching hostage negotiators on TV), but really hope that my free Mommy Tax Service will continue for another year.

I hate doing my taxes. Or, I suspect I would hate doing my taxes, because I've never actually done them. Even in the years that my taxes were fairly straightforward and simple, I would have my mom do them for me. Based on my hatred of math, filling out forms and saving documents, I can extrapolate that doing my taxes would probably be one of the low points of my year.

My mom goes over the tax forms, checks them and double-checks them. She double-checks her math, the signatures and whether there's a stamp on the envelope. This is not my type of personality. When I was in school and I'd take a test, I'd never double-check anything. I'd run through the questions, try to make a few good, educated guesses and beat it as fast as I could out of the classroom. I'm sure that if my mom were in school she would be one of those people who would use the entire allotted time for a test, checking answers, comparing facts and double-checking her math.

My mom has known me for a long time. She has realized that I avoid working and thinking too hard at all cost. I would love to pay someone to clean my house, nanny my child and feed my cats. Only a sense of guilt forces me to take care of my own house, child and pets. I have no such sense of guilt about my taxes. The second my mom says she won't do my taxes next year, I start thinking about which tax service I would want to use. The thought of doing my own taxes never even crosses my mind.

I love that my mom does my taxes. On a practical note, she's free. I know I should pay her something, because she expends a lot of time and energy on them, but I really am a selfish, not-so-great daughter. I also like that I don't have to show my financial information to a stranger. After learning that there are questions you never ask, such as someone's age and how much money they make, it seems awkward to sit down with a stranger and pull out a year's worth of financial information. But believe me, that awkwardness wouldn't stop me if my mom ever makes good on her threats not to do my taxes anymore.

I'd be OK if she stopped doing my taxes. But I'd never survive without her making me dinner, doing my grocery shopping and hemming my pants. I just wish she'd threaten to stop buying me coconut water.

Zoe Abel is a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen, thanks to her mother. You can contact her at

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