Friday, April 15, 2005

The Only Certainty Is That They'll Be The Death of Me

During most of the year, I'm a fairly mild-mannered, calm, rational sort of guy. I'm not prone to angry outbursts, temper tantrums, or mindless ranting. I'm usually in a good mood and would consider myself happy.

But all that changes for a few stormy days every April when it comes time to prepare our taxes. I put off this task for as long as possible since I know the inevitable pain and suffering for my psyche and, especially in the last few years, the hit for our pocketbook that will result.

I don't want it to be this way you understand. I imagine myself strolling into the den, taking off my jacket, loosening up my tie, rolling up my sleeves, pouring myself a glass of milk, and cheerfully doing my duty as an American in a manner reminiscent of Ward Cleaver.

Instead I find myself in my boxers and a t-shirt, slumping in front of my computer screen, scratching myself, swearing like a sailor with Tourette's syndrome, swilling beer, and desperately looking for ways to reduce our tax burden in a manner reminiscent of Homer Simpson.

"Honey, did you invest in or operate a qualified business in a Job Opportunity Zone last year?"


"Honey, were you a small ethanol producer last year?"


"Honey, did you receive benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board?"

"Are you sure?"


By the time I'm done (or more accurately have given up all hope) with the Federal portion, it feels as if I've been kicked square in the groin. Then the State, the big bully's little toady friend, comes along and gives me a boot in the arse while I'm helplessly writhing on the ground in pain. It's not nearly as painful, but it still stings.

After more cursing, gnashing of teeth, and screaming at the cat (leave that W-2 alone damnit!), I'm a beaten man and ready to submit my return. All the kids are talking about "E-filing" these days, so I consider the option. Let's see, it's quicker and makes it easier for the IRS to process your return.

And it's only $15.95 each for Federal and State e-filing.

Thirty-two additional dollars to make it easier for the fargin' IRS to take my money?

Yeah, sign me up. Why don't I just buy the broom handle and pull my pants down for them too? It'd be easier, wouldn't it?

Needless to say, I did not opt for e-filing. The checks are in the mail. And once again, I'm a happy man (although still a little bitter). I just have to content myself with the knowledge that our tax money is being put to good use. By that I mean that it's being used toward the cost of a Hellfire missile. A man can dream, can't he?

(For ideas on how this ridiculous ritual might be made easier, check out Deroy Murdock at National Review Online and Captain Ed.)

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