Right right, so I'd been meaning to discuss taxes ever since I did mine, oh, three or four weeks ago now. Now, I'm not sure why, but I decided that when I filed my taxes I should do them on paper, the old-fashioned way, rather than use any of that e-file, TurboTax, etc-type technology. I mean, I understand that software is developed to make life easier for those of us who don't have the need, the funds, or the inclination to use an accountant, but why do taxes need to be so complicated anyway? Just seems like another way of giving the average American the shaft, with loopholes that only the wealthiest tend to exploit. It's somewhat unrelated, but when I think of exploitation I think of this horrible case in Jersey a few years back. And, as I looked for it, I came upon this recent case in Florida. Sorry, tangents, my bad. So taxes, I mean, I like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent guy and if I'm reading through these pamphlets saying "what the fuck?" I think we've got problems. Throw in the fact that I have been a bit of an insomniac zombie of late, which may be slightly impeding my brain function a bit, and I spent a good four-to-six hours of what I remember doing my taxes.
I did make more trouble for myself by forgetting a small W-2 (or three...ha, no, just one) for my Jersey and federal filings. I also had to file New York state non-residency tax, and a self-employment tax form. For a guy who really doesn't make that much money in the grand scheme of things, it was a lot of work I tell you. And when that work is to tell you that you owe the feds a g-and-a-half and even owe your state a benjamin or two, the incentives are low. But I'm a firm believer that you have to look for the humor in things, and there are certainly some ludicrous or simply obscure things written on the tax forms and in the instruction booklets. And hell, I already checked my bank statements to see that NJ and the Feds cashed my checks already, so I'm good to go; who knows when New York will give me my refund, though. Checks always get cashed a lot quicker than they're written. Lucky us. Plus, I'm sure the feds hated having to read through my paper garbage, so they probably just said "fuck it" and cashed the check.
Now, one area where there is the potential for great fun is filling out the deductions portion of the self-employment form. You can do itemized deductions on your regular tax form as well, but it's got nothing on the self-employment form. I feel as if this is where a lot of people take great liberties, but I was feeling pretty uninventive, so I just did legitimate things like health insurance payments.
So right, the humor in the tax forms. I mean, look at it as a choose-your-own-adventure novel. Of course, it should probably fall under the category of Choose Your Own Adventure Novels That Never Quite Made It. As a prime example, I jotted down this gem from Line 42 of the federal 1040: if line 38 is over $119,975, or you provided housing to a Midwestern displaced individual, see page 36. Otherwise, multiple $3,500 by the total number of exemptions claimed on line 6d. Kudos to anyone who provided housing to a displaced Midwestern flood victim, you are a better person than I, for sadly I didn't even know there were any flood victims (let alone a flood) until I googled it after reading the tax form. I do like to think of people doing that deed solely with the prospect of an additional tax write-off for the upcoming year.
And that's more than enough on taxes. As for that only other thing certain in life, this is going to take a turn for the melancholy (even taxes are uplifting by comparison) with this list of Shocking and Tragic Sports Deaths. While trying to compare what is a worse loss or circumstance seems silly, that link goes right to Bison Dele's story, the details of which stood out to me for, well, being both shocking and tragic.
Since I'm all about the links today, I'm going to flip it back to an uplifting note with these Mathematical chart and graph representations of rap. Um, yes. And finally, for those who think Barack Obama is tight, don't sleep on Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga. Sure she's mayor of a Canadian city as opposed to Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful country in the world (are we?), but you gotta spread the love.
Happy penultimate tax day everyone and yes, I did just want to say penultimate.