-- March 21, 2004

Challenge:

While I was out hiking in the woods one day, I saw a cabin. I went up to the cabin, looked in the window and saw a dead man strapped to a chair. How did he die? 

The answer to this puzzle is fairly simple but it requires that you think beyond the obvious. 

What's this all about? Well, I'll tell you. If you're buried in paperwork -- trying to get last year's finances in order so you can meet the April 15th tax deadline -- if you've seen a taste of spring with crocuses and tulips in bloom and can't wait until the cold, blustery weather is behind -- if you're one of the millions of Americans who are stressed over a lazy economy and lack of work, I figure you could use a break. 

Times like these call for a different approach. These are times to get acquainted with ourselves and to find new ways to look at the world around us. Of course it takes time and energy ... and effort!  But by approaching life changes pro-actively we can minimize the stresses and -- often -- re-discover a new excitement as we get back in touch with your childlike sense of wonderment.  And, then work doesn't seem quite so forbidding, after all. So go ahead and take a break -- And when you think you've found the answer to this question, go to (this information has been removed from this website)....and a source for other brain teasers.

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And Now, Back to work!

April 15th is right around the corner. So here are some quick tips for getting the job done:

The ideal, of course, is to have a tax accountant or your own bookkeeper do the work. But if you're a do-it-yourselfer, you may find that reporting taxes this year isn't all that bad. Although, I've been surprised that tax forms aren't as easy to come by this year as they have been in the past. The post office doesn't have them this year -- and the library has very few of the forms needed (although I was told I could copy forms from the master book they have on hand) . 

On the other hand, all the forms you may need are easy to find at  http://www.irs.gov . Links to the forms and tax programs to help making the reporting process easier are easy to find here, 

Tax preparation programs are fairly inexpensive. They're getting more user friendly all the time and include helpful suggestion. You might try TaxCut or TurboTax. Both are good. Once you install them on your computer the programs ask questions and you just need to fill out the blanks. In addition to the software, Both TaxCut and TurboTax offer additional online help. Try   http://www.TaxFreedom.com  and http://www.taxcut.com/taxtips/cut_taxes/ for additional help.

AARP sponsors tax counseling and resources through Tax Aide, a free tax preparation service here. You don't need to be a senior or belong to AARP to take advantage of these services or find a Tax Aide Service near you.

IRS offers tax preparation by Volunteers through the VITA Program for those who qualify





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