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Archive for April 3, 2017

Apr. 3, 2017 — Closing a chapter

Today, I processed a form called a 1099-S.

It’s a form to file taxes that covers proceeds from real estate transactions.

With a quick scan of the criteria proffered by the software program I use to file, it was decided that the information on the form did not have to be entered because of the lack of a capital gain and the modest proceeds — far from being in the Trump clan’s income bracket.

And then, one click in a bubble was all it took to close this chapter of our family’s history.

The sale of the house had actually closed last September. Family had long since taken the goods they wanted — a soup tureen, stemware, chairs, books, pictures.

Our parents left behind, to put it mildly, a lot of possessions. I remember that, in our move from Mississippi to New Jersey in mid-1976, that we packed exactly 176 paper boxes aboard that Red Ball moving truck.

Some of the odd tchochkes are now in other hands, which is, frankly, for the best. People move around a lot more than they used to, change jobs with the ease of changing clothes, and, with longer commutes, spend a lot less time at home than previous generations.

I think we’re less sentimental of a people than we used to be. Fewer of us keep that one item from our childhood that encapsulates our sense of self. For my father, it was a hand-written bus ticket from 1937 that was the first time he left home to go to school across the island of Puerto Rico from his home town of Ponce. It was a trip across mountains that took the better part of the day, rather than what you can do today, which is take Interstate PR-2 just 71 miles to the capital.

Today, processing tax returns has also become remarkably speedy. Instead of mailing out separate forms to receive checks in the mail in about two weeks, the average person can e-File in just minutes and receive an electronic payment in a few days.

It is remarkable that, given what I thought was going to be my most complicated return, it took me less than 40 minutes to complete.

“Is that all?” I thought on a number of occasions. “This can’t be that easy.”

 

Yep. It’s a bit too easy to close a 39-year chapter of our family history.

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