There is something cruel about the fact that the very nicest time of year on Anna Maria Island happens to coincide with IRS tax preparation time. Just when it’s beginning to be the perfect temperature to be outside on the island, it’s also time to think about looking for all those receipts, adding up all those deductions, contributing to an IRA. I really would rather be riding my bike or walking on the beach at this time of year. Or even just sitting on the deck looking at the egrets and herons that wander through our yard. Anything to avoid the federal tax return.
On the other hand, the island has become surprisingly busy, with traffic backed up for blocks at times. The other day it took me an hour and forty-five minutes to drive up Longboat Key from Sarasota to Holmes Beach. It would have been impossible to plan to be anywhere on time today, because traffic was gridlock at every intersection. This makes it a little less annoying to have to stay home and do those tax preparations.
Online efile tax preparation is still a chore but even tax preparation assistance with an excellent CPA at Key Accounting right here on the island, we spend a lot of time assembling supporting information which organize the material to be entered into the tax preparation software. For the next few days, I’ll just have to sit at my desk and gather all my information, maybe with the windows open and certainly with my mind on other things. Then we’ll just know we can stay on the island to take our information to the accountant.
Mercifully, Florida does not have a state income tax. We still feel it’s very expensive to live here, and a big part of that is due to the property tax. Even with the homestead exemption, it is hard to believe the average person can just go on paying such high property taxes year after year. Although property values have drastically dropped in recent years, of course the county taxes have not been reduced at all. By ignoring the market price and increasing their fictional ‘assessed value’ the county keeps their extortion high. I have no idea how most fixed-income retirees can continue to live here, having created their retirement budgets long ago, with no idea how high the taxes would become. It doesn’t seem fair to pay more for wasteful spending and decreasing services.
Old age and taxes: living on a beautiful island makes it easier to endure the first of these inevitable parts of life. But nothing makes it easy to pay taxes. Not even our island in the high season.