Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Sign of An Orderly Society

- So says Wikipedia.

The Absolute Inevitable - something about "death and taxes" - so they say.

As of 7:13 this evening, I am done. I clicked submit. I e-signed. I crunched my complicated numbers. I filled in all the worksheet-this and the worksheet-that. I stapled it, filed it, and sit tapping my fingers, waiting for the refund to appear by electronic-money-magic in my bank account.

April 15th......You don't scare me.
I got you whooped on January 28th.

I know.
There is an inexhaustible list of taxations levied on "We The People."
And I know there are legitimate disputations thrown up against each one. I certainly don't want to abandon my nay-sayer compatriots in this war against taxes, but...
maybe your income tax experience is different from mine.

As in
you owe
and I don't

so you can see where we're on the verge of a little misunderstanding.


I am standing in front of the tiered shelves in the foyer of my local library that house many options for filing my 2009 Individual Income Tax Return. The display of forms, worksheets, instructions, and even a hotline phone number is both overwhelmingly complicated and deceptively simple. These offerings here, are just a fraction of the gazillion forms and worksheets I can access online.

What if I....
bought a Toyota Prius (new, not used)
bought any car (new, not used)
installed a geothermal water something or other
was on extended active duty outside the US, but my home is in the US
engaged in "intangible drilling"
made money fishing
housed someone displaced in a "Midwestern disaster?"

If I did any of those things then I ought to be spanked - that's what. Because it may mean money back, or it may mean money owed, but it definitely means lots of confusing "Schedule A's or B's and forms 8814, and 4972.

It requires deciphering the instructions that say:
1. Subtract line 4 from line 3
2. Multiply $2,433 by the total number of exemptions claimed on Form 1040, line 6d.
Enter the result here and on Form 1040, line 42.
3. Divide line 5 by $2500
4. Multiply line 6 by 2% (.02) and enter the result as a decimal
5. Multiply line 2 by line 7
6. Divide line 8 by 3.0

7. Multiply the number of times you just said #%@!, by 843
8. Divide by the number of children asking for food while you figure incalculable calculations
9. Get a babysitter
10. Drive to the nearest State Liquor Store
11. Pay big time "sin-taxes" on the 40 oz bottle of Absolut Vodka that you are about to drink
whether you are into alcohol or not
12. Write the word "NO" on line 75
13. Put a load of stamps on it and hope for the best.

All this is still ahead of me while I'm standing there in the library lamenting the days when the 1040EZ had my name on it.

A man walks behind me and says:
"Don't do it. Obama will just spend it."

I pretend he isn't talking to me. I don't turn around, I don't even give the little social-graces-friendly-neighbor chuckle to communicate our shared misery in the paying of taxes. I let him walk past wondering to himself if I had heard him trying to be funny.

I want to make something VERY clear before I proceed-
ever about, anything
(Unless your name is Matt, and I am married to you. Then I might say something now and again that could be construed as having a political opinion).
That said, I continue.

I should have a placard pinned to my back that reads:
Taxes: a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.

Whether you are Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush, Mr. Lincoln, or Mr. Reagan the point of taxes is to spend them. And no matter who the Commander in Chief is, there are a fair number of cosigners on any check sent out by the Federal government.
There have been publicans aplenty throughout more nations than ours, gathering up the taxes since well before the Anno Domini era began. We've been relinquishing our last coins to the publicans, whether they be Re-publicans or Obama-publicans for millennia. And the Romans still have little bits of road all throughout Britain to show for it.

I thank my tax dollars (and my habitual late fees) nearly every day for the library I am now standing in.
There are some reasons to feel good about contributing.

p.s. Mr. Man at the library, if I don't file, I don't get all that money back that will surely pay for a dishwasher.

Maybe someday, when all my "Exemptions" have moved away to start families of their own, I will feel less inclined to file.

Until then -
Render unto Obama what is Obama's, or...
buy a "stove that burns biomass fuel to heat your home" and get a whopping refund for being so "green."


Emily said...

It's pretty amazing that the IRS trusts Americans to multiply by .02 and write it as a decimal. I'm not sure I have as much faith in Americans as they do.

Although they don't really trust; they audit.

Anyway, congratulations on a) finishing your taxes so early, b) having nothing political to say, and c) leaving the man at the library hanging. Here's wishing you many sparkling dishwasher-filled days to come.

Susan said...

Uh, what's biomass?

shelley said...

LOL at #7!

And my advice is, if you're getting a refund anyway, use It's so easy, and worth every penny. I filed mine last week and look forward to my refund next week.

Unfortunately, the entire refund has already been spent on my infernal home addition and Spencer's hearing aids.

Becky said...

Something tells me that I'm going to miss the simplicity of destitution and free-file--assuming there is, in fact, an end to graduate school. You guys give me hope, Jessica. And you still file your own taxes! That gives me hope too. I hate the idea of paying someone to pay me. Fortunately I don't think our income will ever outgrow my tax-filing abilities.
I love your blog, Jessica. I want to learn how to make my own jelly! Lucky...

k_laurelle said...

I just want to say haha I've already gotten both of my refunds :).

aubtobobtolob said...

Julie (who is a accountant and does taxses) said this might be the last year we get to use our offspring for money back. It looks like the tax bill that was put in place runs out in 2010. Spend it well this year, lean years may be ahead. I mean is this not why we had kids anyway?!? :)
I like roads... and libraries. soooooooo.