Sunday, March 20, 2005

If line 37 is $107,025 or less, multiply $3,100 by the total number of exemptions claimed on line 6B

“It’s time you learned how to do your own taxes. What if Dad died tomorrow?”

“Then you’d help me do my taxes.”

“I don’t know how to do taxes. And what if I died tomorrow, too?”

“Well, then I’d have bigger problems than figuring out who’s going to do my taxes.”

“Don’t be smart. You need to learn. You at least need to know about the financial planner.”

“Wait. We have a financial planner? Why don’t you just give me his info and I’ll get him to do my taxes?”

“What if the financial planner dies tomorrow? You need to know how to do your own taxes.”

“I think if both my parents and my financial planner died tommorrow, the IRS would cut me some slack.”

{I used to think I had the answers to everything}

So, yeah, I learned how to do my own taxes this weekend. And by “learned,” I mean “got some vague, shadowy idea of.”

I did what my dad called “the Reader’s Digest version” of my 1040, forms A, B, C, C-EZ* etc. etc.... I cross-referenced The Book and The Chart and “last year’s dividends and returns.” I added Line 22 to Line 36, subtracted the set amount as dictated by The Book (see page 35) from line 43, flipped to The Chart and extracted the random figure $318 from the matrix of dollars plotted against filing status.

{Feels like I’m caught in the middle/ That’s when I realize...}

“... ‘Taxable Interest, attach Schedule B if required’” (dig through stack of papers, find Schedule B) “OK, joint filing, blah blah blah. No that’s not me... Filing singly...”

“You’re single.”

“Yes, I’m fully aware. Thank you, though, for reminding me.”

{All I need is time/ A moment that is mine/ While I’m in between}

“This part will be easy. ‘Alimony Received?’ None. ‘Capital Gain or Loss?’ None.”

“Wrong.”

“Wrong? I have capital loss? How much?”

“Eh, about $31,000. You lost some oil wells this year.”

“I lost some oil wells this year?

“Yeah. It’s no big deal.”

“Fine. ‘Capital loss?’ $31,000. Now. ‘Rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S-partnerships...’ None.”

“Wrong.”

“Wrong? I’m supposed to be getting royalties? From what?”

“No. You’re secretary in the Partnership.”

“Secretary in what Partnership? What am I...in the mob?”

“Don’t worry about it. You’re secretary in the Partnership. It’ll all be taken care of when I run this through TurboTax.”

“Oh. Right. OK ‘Trusts.” Hey, I’m secretary in the Partnership, surely I must have a trust out there. Right? Riiiight?”

“Keep going.”

“Alright. ‘Farm Income or Loss.’ Ha! Know I don’t have that one.”

“Wrong.”

“What the...! I quit!”

“Corn futures.”

“Corn futures?”

“Corn futures.”

“I really have those? I thought corn was just like a big family joke. Not something I’d have to consider on my freakin’ taxes!”

“Keep going.”

(Much goes off without a hitch; I calculate moving expenses -- $0, even though I’m fairly sure I spent about a billion dollars moving to Chicago, then back to Texas -- and ‘office expenses’ -- $250, “for copies and faxes.” I don’t even know how to fax. If the IRS is reading this, I was assured that “it’ll all be taken care of when I run this through TurboTax,” so, please, blame technology.)

“Alright. Almost done. I know I don’t have any of these things. ‘Foreign Tax?’ Yeah right.”

“Wrong.”

“I have to pay foreign taxes? To what country? Wait! Do I have a Swiss account? That would be wicked! It would be worth paying foreign taxes. ‘Just take it out of my Swiss account.’”

“No. No Swiss accounts. Dutch accounts. And French.”

“Bah. I’ll tell people they’re Swiss.”

{This girl will always find her way}

So I’m done with my taxes for this year. Pretty painless, considering a.) I’ve had three jobs in the past taxing period, and b.) one of those jobs was at AssPubs, where I was paid out of the editor’s personal checkbook with no taxes taken out.

Actually, doing taxes was borderline amusing; my dad used a bright yellow pencil with a little plastic fishbowl in place of the eraser, and every time he wrote something down, the beads inside the fishbowl rattled.