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Around The Bluhmin’ Town

Judy Bluhm~ 4/8/2015

Are you ready? Yes, the “Big Tax Day” is lurking around the corner, Dear Readers. Just one week away. It’s either a day of pure anguish (empty your wallets) or great relief (quickly spend that check). Some folks are downright giddy about the big refund that they’re getting. The people who owe money to the IRS are usually the ones who are filing at the last minute, rushing to a post office hours before the stroke of midnight, feeling nauseated as they regrettably place the envelope with a huge check into the mailbox. Tax time seems to bring out the best, worst, cheapest, and greediest in We the People, who must file, claim, and pay.
           
Taxation rules can be quite goofy. And every single tax deduction that one might imagine has already been tried. Breast implants as a tax deduction? Of course! Well, that’s if you are in the “entertainment business.” Is the cost of joining a gym and eating healthy tax deductible? Sure, as long as your doctor has told you it is important to your health. What about cat food? Seems fair, if your cat is used to fend off mice that might be hazardous to your business, barn, or health. I like the guy in Phoenix who was able to deduct the cost of his built-in swimming pool. Used only for “health reasons” and not for fun.

Taxation also has a long history. A revolt almost occurred in England when in 1784 a “hat tax” was started. Lots of women went outside without their headgear, leading to utter chaos and “cultural decay.” That tax was promptly repealed. But what about the current tax on televisions in England? You must pay an annual fee for each telly you own! And if we think it is just our neighbors across The Pond who are nutty, what about the five percent tax in Pittsburg on anything that is considered “amusement” or entertainment? Not a very amusing tax! And in New York City how do you like your bagels? Because if they are sliced for you, then they will be taxed once as food, and again as prepared food, leading to the “sliced bagel tax.” New Yorkers, get a sharp knife!

Maine has a special tax on blueberries, so I am glad I don’t live there because I would hate to have to ration my berries! Do you like your pumpkins eaten or just carved for Halloween? Because in New Jersey and Iowa, if you are buying a pumpkin to put in pie, you will not be taxed. Carving a face in your jack-o-lantern means you pay a tax. Do they have “pumpkin police?” Oh, and in California, if you buy fresh fruit from a vending machine (is that possible?) you may pay a 33 percent tax! Yikes, no wonder those machines are intended for candy! My favorite law is that if you live in New Mexico and are 100 years old, you are finally tax-exempt. Good things happen to those who wait!

Evidently, a whole bunch of taxpayers have a pretty good sense of humor. The Internal Revenue Service reports that a small percentage of checks they receive each year have “funny” things written on them. Many people keep the acronym “IRS,” then spell out what they’re really thinking. Hey, I would never have the nerve to write, “Internal Revenue Sucks” on my check! What about “I’m Really Sad,” which I think is much better than “Internal Rear Sores.” Ouch!  “Insensitive Rip-off Scoundrels” sounds good to me. Oops, only kidding! What are these people thinking? I’ll bet an audit is going to be in their future. However, the agents at the IRS say they just have a good laugh – then cash the checks.

A survey conducted by Yahoo Finance reveals that thirty-six percent of Americans say that they “cheat a little” on their taxes. This means the “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 percent of tax returns are “fiction” and ten percent of all tax returns are “fantasy.” Now hold on, isn’t that implying that we’re a bunch of cheats and liars? One psychologist from Stanford who studies “tax time psychosis,” reveals that many people experience real “emotional breakdowns” during the months of March and April

A woman in Phoenix divorced her husband and found out afterwards that they owed $100,000 in back taxes to the IRS! For years, her husband would file their taxes and say, “Honey, sign here.” A survey conducted by a major tax preparation group claims that thirty percent of all married couples operate this way. Either the husband or the wife is “involved” in preparing the taxes, and the spouse just “signs on the lines.” It’s a pretty shrill wake-up call when you realize that the government doesn’t accept that you “didn’t know what you were signing.” What’s the woman in Phoenix doing about it? She was arrested for assault.

Some people can be pushed over the edge of the ledger when it comes to paying taxes. Experiencing         tax-time psychosis? Cheating? From fiction to fantasy, it’s one hell of a ride around April 15. Heck, we’re about to survive another year! If you’re an accountant, get some rest. If you’re getting a refund, spend it quietly and don’t brag. Some poor taxpayer may wring your neck, due to “emotional       distress.”

If you had to (or will have to) write a big check to the government, why not be happy. It is how our country operates – on our money. So let’s make a toast – to “Intense Reality Shock,” or whatever makes you smile. “Tax Day” is almost over, so let the fiction and fantasies begin!

 

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor who lives in the Anthem area. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.