Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Can't Escape

Nothing is certain but taxes and death.

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small

Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,

If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

Don't ask me what I want it for

If you don't want to pay some more
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die

Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me.

Today I worked on my income taxes for 2011.  It is always a great joy to work on the Internal Revenue Service's annual ritual of the fleecing of the people.  Of course I am probably about a week earlier than most years as I usually like to wait until the last weekend before I file our income taxes.  I am not really sure why I chose to work on them this weekend, I guess I had a weak moment and needed a headache.  So it was that I worked on and filed my income taxes--a great work in fiction if there ever was one!

The IRS and I go way back since I went into the ministry.  We have not always seen eye-to-eye when it comes to what we owe the government.  Often the IRS has told me that us that we owe a heck of a lot more than we think that we do--thus we disagree.  These disagreements have led to some interesting adventures on our part, and I imagine on their part. Surprisingly, when you finally get to talk to an actual human being at the IRS, they are fairly flexible and understanding.  The problem is whether or not you can survive the hour to hour and a half wait on the telephone line--their muzak is enough to make any person hang up after thirty minutes!

As I stated, the IRS and I have not always agreed.  We have had some interesting adventures together.  Surprisingly we are about even on the outcome of these disagreements.  There was one time when the IRS wrote us to say that we made a mistake on our income tax forms and actually owed several thousand dollars more than we original thought.  They gave us two weeks to respond from the date that they mailed the letter which we received four days after they mailed the letter.  My response was simple: Could you please send me a copy of my return where I made the mistake so that I could double check it, correct it, and mail them whatever I owed them.  Three months later the wife and I received a refund check double what we thought we were going to get.  Mark that one up to us.

 At the same time, I have not always won--the IRS has won more than its fair share of disputes.  One year I withheld the excise tax for telephone service to protest the military conflict in the first Gulf Conflict (their title, not mine).  Some protester figured, at that time, that the conflict was costing Americans about the same amount of money as the telephone excise tax.  As a protest against the war people were encouraged to withhold that amount from their annual taxes.  That is what I did.  Uncle Sam was not pleased despite the fact that it amounted to less than ten dollars.  So, guess what--I ended up paying the tax plus interest.  Chalk that one up to the IRS.

At this point in my life the IRS is one up on me.  They won a dispute two years ago when I put in the wrong figures on our return.  After nearly a year of attempting to correct the problem so that the wife and I would not lose our refund, I gave up.  I gave up because they had more resources than I did in making the process more complicated than I could ever understand.  That year I took the hit, sent the check, and hoped that the old finances would rebound.

Is it no wonder that with such fond memories of dealing with the IRS that I postpone the annual fleecing of the people until the last possible minute?  Which for 2011 was today.  I sat at my computer and did the dirty deed.  Hours later the task was completed.  We survived.  In fact, we even got refunds!  Imagine that!

I find that each year when I have to file our annual contribution to the United States government that it is an adventure--I never know where we are going to end up until the end.  It is an adventure that keeps my blood pressure high, my heart beating fast, and me pulling whatever hair I have out.  And, yet, at the same time, it always seems to come out in a fair way that I agree with.  I think that I should do my fair share--I think we all should.  So it is always a game played like a poker game--lots of posturing going on.  Surprisingly it always works out.

Yeah, I sacrifice quite a few hours each year doing our income taxes. At the same time I guess it is no worse than having to rake the yard for dog poop or having to scoop the driveway after a big snow storm--it is irritating, but manageable.  The fact is that none of us can ever escape taxes as they are a part of our lives.  There are taxes for everything.  The Beatles had it right!  But, I will be damned if I give the IRS any more money any earlier than I have to!  I guess the IRS wins this year as I filed a whole ten days earlier than usual . . . oh yeah, this is one of those years we get a refund . . . I guess it is a draw for 2011!

Besides according to the experts we will have paid off our 2012 taxes in about another three weeks.  I think that is worth celebrating!  Until next April!

No comments: