What there is less talk about is this: Some of us our still helping our grown children with their taxes. One dad I know has his tax accountant text his 38-year-old daughter to remind her to send him (the CPA) her W2 and other tax information. The dad then pays his accountant to fill out his daughter's tax forms and send her the package, complete with pre-addressed envelopes. All she has to do is sign and send.
A Wall Street Journal article last year detailed other ways in which mums and dads helped out their kids at tax time--even though some of the kids were well into their 40s. In one instance, the dad was filling out forms for an adult grandchild as well.
Yes, the kids should have learned the skill by now. But some of us worry that our kids don't have time to do it--their careers are hectic plus they're bringing up kids, cooking meals and making sure the laundry is done. What greater gift than saving them time.
Other moms and dads see it as a bonding experience. It is certainly an informative one: We know how much they're earning, how big their raise was or bonus wasn't. If our child or our child's spouse has a home office, we know if that business is flourishing and we make sure all possible deductions are taken.
For some parents, there's a more benign reason: It gives us a way to hang around in an advisory capacity and to feel relevant by providing an important service. They still need us!
We can only hope that if there's money due the IRS, we're not asked to help--or tempted to offer assistance-- with that, too.