Friday, September 28, 2012

One Way I Will Fight Alzheimer's

Being on a sitcom stops me from getting Alzheimer's. ~ Jerry Stiller

I just completed doing my 2011 tax return by hand.  I used to agonize over doing our tax return because of the effort required and the lack of societal value from the task, even though there was usual some financial value of a refund.  However, this year I realized there may be a health benefit to doing my taxes manually :-)

Alzheimer's Disease Protection - How to Reduce Risk and Protect Your Brain offers the following mental stimulation tips to reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer's.  I've added how preparing our tax return can help.

  • Learn something new. Every year there is something new in the tax code: new or expanded credits, new deductions, or new qualifying criteria.   In the last 5 years, I don't think there is been any year similarity that would allow simply copying the current year's numbers into last year's return, which is how I used to do my taxes.
  • Practice memorization. I now know the various form numbers for various filing requirements:  8606, Nondeductible IRA contributions; Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions; and 1116, Foreign Tax Credit, etc., etc., etc.
  • Enjoy strategy games, puzzles, and riddles. I enjoy evaluating different options to minimize my tax liability to Federal and State governments: itemized or standard deduction, Roth or Traditional IRA, and deductible or nondeductible IRA contribution.  
  • Use a “Who, What, Where, When, and Why” list. Keeping such documentation is required for charitable contributions, mileage and business expense claims for a deduction on a tax return.
  • Follow the road less traveled. I do my tax return by hand on an Excel spreadsheet.  This allows me to better understand the whys of the tax code as it affects my return.

  • Of course, some already think I'm crazy, and beyond help, for doing my taxes by hand when there are so many software resources available.   Hopefully, being a tax geek will help keep me from getting this dreaded disease in the future.

     For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday  for a new segment.

    This is not financial, health or tax advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2012 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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