I owe HOW much?

This is the way I usually greet my tax accountant who I see once a year.  Sometimes I even say hello before I destroy his office.  

Each April I walk in with a shoebox full of receipts looking for legitimate deductions toward something creative, like diminished farm income raising thoroughbred Sea-Monkeys.   And each year he takes my disorganized finances and breaks them up into cryptic line items that add up more or less to whichever amount is more or less on the tax table.

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As certain as death they say.  My April friend.

I pity tax accountants.  We forget that they are hard working, caring human beings who by law must make cents of our dollars.  They are the undertakers of our financial ledgers.  They are the messengers we are not supposed to shoot.

But let’s face it.  They are real party poopers.

Why can’t I claim the cat as a dependent?

Once, in a fit of rage, I asked my accountant why he couldn’t be more like Bernie Madoff.  He looked at me, stupefied.

I understand his appalled reaction.  But sometimes I wish he would guide me through the quasi-legal loop holes of limited partnerships sunk off Bahamian reefs or find a mother lode of tax relief buried deep within the treacherous shafts of a dead silver mine in Colorado.

On the other hand, he did legally reduce my taxes considerably the year I was forced to recognize my worthless stock holdings in Enron.

Why can’t the Girl Scout cookies I purchased be classified as a charitable donation?

Sometimes I get desperate, even irrational.  It is times like these that I calm down, reflect on my financial position, and scarf down thirteen boxes of Thin Mints.  My accountant jokingly takes one look at my waist and tells me I have already rolled over the cookies into my IRA anyway.  

I wonder if liposuction constitutes a legitimate medical expense?

If this is what the tax codes in America have come to, then maybe it is time to appoint Charlie Sheen as IRS Czar.

I often resort to extreme political positions in the heat of anteing up for the privilege of playing cards in America.

But it is true that our private personal political beliefs are put to the test on April 15, especially after we write a big check and drive to the ends of the earth to find a US post office that is still open.  This is obviously why elections are held in November. 

But despite the pain parting with hard-earned income, I truly believe we should be thankful.  I read recently that in 1970’s Britain, the tax rate was a whopping 80 percent! 

This burdensome tax forced respectable UK citizens like the Rolling Stones to relocate from their cold and rainy homeland to bucolic mansions nestled in the south of France so that they could record a best selling album to avoid the back taxes they owed.   

I think you get my point:  things could be worse.  We could all be aging rock stars exiled to yachts moored temporarily in a Monte Carlo harbor with no country to call home. 

No thank you.  I would much rather pay US taxes than look like Mick Jaeger. 

THIS is what I pay you for?

I used to do my own taxes, but ultimately I found it much cheaper to rely on a professional tax accountant.   

One year, after TurboTax mystically led me through an alphabet soup of Schedules on my computer screen, the software package spewed out a number ungraciously delineated by the embolden words:  Amount You Owe.    The figure in question was both a threat to my intelligence and to my bank account.   So I did what any honest, American taxpayer would do:  I smashed my computer with a baseball bat.

A few days later my new accountant let me write off both the PC and my Louisville Slugger.  At least my intelligence wasn’t so threatened.

If I were a billionaire I probably wouldn’t have to pay taxes!

If you were a billionaire, my accountant tells me, you wouldn’t really care.

He is part psychologist.  He empathizes with me as he explains my return and soberly agrees that it is highly unfair that the US government has singled me out alone to solve the debt crisis.   He probably says this to everybody.

But he makes me feel less despondent.  For on April 15, I desperately need for someone to share my misery. 

I think I will bring him with me the next time I go to Atlantic City.

Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?

Surely, taking my accountant out to eat at his favorite restaurant MUST be recognized as a business expense.