In 1981, when she was 10, Jill Young moved with her family from California to Washington state for her father’s job. The job paid a six-figure salary, which Young says led the family to believe their financial situation was pretty great. But a year later, their family moved back to California. Not long after, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) flagged them for an audit. Amid managing three young children and two moves within such a short time span, Young’s parents were suddenly under the gun to dig up old paperwork.
“They fought constantly,” Young remembers, and it “vastly affected” her father’s credit. “He had to find all his related paperwork and receipts to prove that he filled out his taxes correctly. But he could not find the paperwork from that year, and so he was forced to pay penalties since he couldn’t offer proof otherwise.”
This memory feels more potent this time of year as Young, who works as a contract analyst for the state of California, prepares her own federal and state tax returns. A single mother of two, she lives paycheck to paycheck. Filing her tax return, she says, has always been stressful.