My initial impression is that 14 hours sounds a little excessive- like the way mechanics will bill you 4 hours for changing an alternator, but it takes 30 minutes.
However, some research reveals that "record keeping" is included in this time. The IRS (Long Form) 1040 instructions, on page 81, estimate the average time burden for non-business taxpayers (72% of total filers) to be 13.2 hours. 5.8, or nearly half, of this time is allocated to "record keeeping"
I did my 1040 in 5-6 hours, and half of that was spent calculating capital gains—I had so many stock transactions that I had to use the Schedule D continuation sheet. That was record-keeping and it was a pain.
The real burden comes from the government getting your money, interest-free, for as long as 13 months, while you wait for the new year and then for all your W-2s 1099s to come in. Then most of us are excited to get our money back after 14-16 months because we don’t have the self-discipline to save a couple grand ourselves, and can now go and piss away that sum on an HDTV.
I recommend everyone complete form W4 and submit it to his/her employer. You can decrease your withholding, and increase your take-home pay, by $100-200 a month. You get no refund, and in some cases have to pay a couple hundred, but you get all that money up front each paycheck, and you get to be a little more independent from our wasteful government.
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