Thursday, March 19, 2009
As everyone except those who don't pay taxes knows, it's tax-season in the U.S. By "those who don't pay taxes," I mean those wily global capitalists. If you can run a company into the dirt, threaten nations' economies, AND get a bonus for doing all that great work, there's no way you're going to mess with anything as trivial as taxes.
Before I get to taxes and cats, I should mention that hotel-owner Leona Helmsley famously said, "Taxes? We don't pay taxes. Taxes are for the little people." Unfortunately, the government convicted her of tax-evasion, and she had to go to prison. There wasn't an immense amount to like about Leona. She was overbearing, and, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, she treated her employees terribly, humiliating them instead of interacting with them as professional employees.
Nonetheless, I had some sympathy left over for her after she got out of prison, lived as a recluse, died, and left all her money to a dog. Leaving it to a worthy non-profit would have been better, but leaving it to the dog showed just how isolated and probably almost mad she was. Apparently the dog doesn't need that much to live on (it is still alive), so I think some of the money does go to charity. "Can't buy me love . . ." does seem to apply in this case.
Anyway, we're getting ready to have our taxes "done"--quite an expression. The process requires as much work as if we figured out the taxes ourselves. The only difference is that, by having a professional fill out the forms, they're filled out correctly. That's a substantial difference.
We begin the process by scattering forms and such on the floor. We like to call this stage of the process "chaos."
The cat threw up on one of the papers. We're working on several hypotheses to explain this occurrence. 1) The cat objects to income tax. Cat's do operate in the world as if they're entitled to everything, after all. 2) The cat found an arithmetical error in the form, or it read the form and believed we'd paid too much for something--or that we should have spent the money on something cat-related. 3) The paper in question had been handled by a dog working as a cashier. 4) The cat had a hairball stuck. Most of the evidence supports 1, 2, and 3, but we haven't ruled out #4 entirely.
The upshot is that one of the supporting documents we're sending to our accountant will have a stain on it.
After we scatter the forms and other records, we fill out a booklet our accountant has given us. It's loaded with questions. Many of them seem strange to me, so strange they induced--as opposed to inspired--a poem of sorts.
Did you sell a medieval castle last year? If so, then go
to line 25C and wait.
Did an imaginary friend live with you more than
50% of the time last year? Did the friend pay
Did a marauding band of unfettered global
capitalists steal your retirement-fund? If so,
join the crowd, and weep in the streets.
Has anyone ever actually asked you what you'd
like your taxes to support? We thought not.
Add the total on line 36A to the total on line
1,401, 263C and divide by the total on line
6F. Then multiply by eleven. Light incense and
chant. Count on your fingers. You are ready.
Welcome to Taxland, Pilgrim.
Copyright 2009 by Hans Ostrom