What a Taxing Experience!

Once again American citizens have paid their income taxes, at least as many of us as are inclined. We certainly had plenty of time to do so. April 15th , the usual deadline, was on a Sunday. The 16th was Monday, but that was also Emancipation Day in Washington, D. C. For this little-known reason, the deadline was emancipated until Tuesday, April 17, which was when the IRS website went down. There were rumors that Russian hackers had set the date back to July 4, but obviously not. The due date turned out to be April 18, Wednesday.

Given how long tax season lasted, my neighborhood’s Liberty Tax location had to use four sign-wavers this year. These are the people who dress like the Statue of Liberty and stand street-side drumming up business.

The first one was an older fellow who threw his back out moving the sign back and forth. The second guy was assaulted by a drunk who was offended that a sign-waver would wear a green Statue of Liberty costume. He tried to explain that oxidation had turned the actual bronze statue green, but the drunk wasn’t having any of it. He said that the Statue of Liberty was whitish-gray and beat the sign-waver around the crown until he quit. The third guy was listening to music on his headphones and got carried away moving the sign back and forth. He danced into traffic, tangoed with a Toyota Tundra, and was taken to the emergency room. The fourth fellow made it through the last four days of tax season just fine. He was happy to have had the extra day of work.

Some people ask if there is a Bible verse that comforts a person doing his/her taxes. Yes there is.  “Take a little wine for the sake of your stomach,” 1 Timothy 5: 23. Some people have misinterpreted this to say, “And take a whole lot for the sake of your refund.”

H&R Block is struggling with this Bible verse. I hear that they’re thinking about medicating their clients to keep blood pressures low in the waiting room, going to change their name to H&R BetaBlocker. But they’ve also started using IBM’s Watson this year, and there were a few glitches. He’d say to people, “Watson your wallet? Give it to me!” That’ll raise your blood pressure.

There was a new business in town doing tax work this year, called itself The Knights of the Tax Table. Their preparers take an oath of chivalry to do mortal combat with the IRS in order to get damsels in tax distress the biggest refunds possible. But sometimes the line between chivalry and shystery is very thin. They made promises they couldn’t keep.

Inasmuch as I was a volunteer doing taxes for AARP this past tax season, I helped Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Doc, Bashful, Grumpy, and Dopey for no charge, although they are allowed to bring in Dunkin Doughnuts to help us preparers keep up our strength. (My eyes aren’t the only things glazed over as the day wears on.)

My Sleepy taxpayers are actually very smart. They saw the Knights of the Tax Table’s sign down the street that said, “We’ll Slay the IRS Dragon and Get You Up To $3500 back!”  And they said, “In your dreams!”

My Doc taxpayers always hope that their medical expenses will wipe out what they owe Uncle Sam. For example, a woman came in who had receipts for a pair of eyeglasses she bought for her husband. But she got mad and threw them away when he still didn’t see things her way. Can she deduct them?

All it takes for my Happy taxpayers to be delighted is to not owe the government any money. It doesn’t matter that last year they got back $1600 dollars and this year they get nothing. They’re happy. In fact, they love NOT having to sing the song, I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.

Sneezy, of course, was the one who gave me the flu. I hope that next year she sees Doc before she sneeze me.

My Bashful taxpayer is the guy or lady out of whose hand I have to pry info. May I see your Social Security Card? Oh, it’s so old and beaten up, I’d be embarrassed to show it to you. And please don’t ask for my driver’s license. My picture is just terrible. Then can I see your W-2 form? I’d rather not. I’d just die if anyone knew how much I made last year.

I get a few Grumpy tax payers, but not a lot. They’re especially grumpy when they figure out that we had doughnuts that day and didn’t save any for them. They say, You ate them all? Even the IRS leaves me a few crumbs!

My Dopey tax payers do things like rummage around in their stash of papers, saying, I’m sure my 1099-R is in here somewhere…Oh, here’s what I paid for car insurance. Will that help? My coworkers and I love them even if they are taxing at times. We’re there to help.


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