The Tax Man Cometh

TAXES: tax filing and tax forms
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
It's tax time. Used to be I had stuff in boxes, on a desk, under the bed, on the closet floor, in suit pockets, and invariably hopelessly lost amidst the detritus of daily life. That all changed 20 or so years ago when I got audited.

I had an accountant — my brother-in-law — and we're law-abiding guys. But believe me, when the letter comes from the Internal Revenue Service informing you that you are being audited, it's a clarifying moment. You turn the house inside out trying to come up with the stuff that will justify your deductions, and when and if you can't, panic sets in.

I will confess we went into the audit a little short of paperwork, chagrined and ever so polite. I put myself at the mercy of the IRS. It was just painful enough that I vowed it would never happen again. So now I dutifully save, duplicate, hoard, protect, and file the way I'm supposed to.

Afraid of the IRS? Me? You better believe it.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith