Originally Published: April 2, 2018 6:01 a.m.
Are you ready for the Big Day? That’s right, the deadline for filing your taxes is looming and it is causing quite a few Americans to become anxious and upset (if you owe) or deliriously happy if a refund is coming.
Since people tend to procrastinate, the ones who owe money usually file at the last minute, or request an extension (why prolong the suffering?) and rush to the post office just before the stroke of midnight on April 15 with a “special envelope.”
Yes, if you are sending the government a check it might be done with a shaky hand and a slight feeling of nausea, followed by relief then remorse.
Taxation rules are complicated and sometimes downright goofy. And since people are creative, every single tax deduction (real or imagined) has been tried. Breast implants as a tax deduction? Of course! If you are in the “entertainment business.”
How about the cost of a gym membership and organic food as a write-off? Sure, if your work dictates that you must “stay healthy.”
One guy deducts his cat’s vet bills and cat food, since keeping mice away from his barn is “imperative” to his health. Oh, and a man in Phoenix claimed his new built-in swimming pool as a tax deduction because he only swims for “health reasons” and never for fun. In other words, try everything when it comes to saving a dime.
If you are an agent for the Internal Revenue Service please stop reading immediately. Okay, so a survey conducted by Yahoo Finance claims that thirty-six percent of Americans say that they “cheat a little” on their taxes.
This means “harmless” padding of gas mileage to the blatant making up of write-offs that don’t exist. One agent for the IRS has been quoted as saying that ten to fifteen percent of all tax returns are pure “fiction.” Yikes, if that is true it makes we, the American taxpayers, look like a bunch of cheats and liars! And I say that is simply not true!
Americans are a funny bunch. The IRS claims that about one percent of people who pay taxes write “odd and insulting” remarks on their checks.
So instead of writing the check to United States Treasury, one guy wrote “Unscrupulous Sordid Thieves.” Other folks write things in the subject line by spelling out the acronyms for the IRS, such as “Internal Revenue Sucks.” I do think “I’m Really Sad” is better than “Internal Rear Sores.”
Ouch! People, do not do this or an audit will be in your future. Of course, the IRS agents just say that laugh and cash the checks.
Sure, they laugh and we cry. Some people are pushed over the edge of the ledger when it comes to paying taxes. Some psychologists say there is such a thing as “tax-time anxiety” when people become more nervous and stressed. Well, from fiction to fantasy, it is one heck of a ride around April 15. If you are an accountant, get some rest. If you are getting a refund, spend it quietly and do not brag.
And if you have to pay taxes just try to be happy. It is how this country operates – on our money. So let’s make a toast to “Intense Reality Shock” or whatever makes you smile. Tax Day is almost here, so gleefully plan how to spend your refund or have a stiff drink and write the check. Better luck next year.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.