Kids eating goldfish and doing taxes

Posted On: Saturday - April 15th 2023 3:55PM MST
In Topics: 
  Humor  US Feral Government  Taxes

Well, he doesn't have a bookkeeper to do the arithmetic for him, as in the picture, but my 11 y/o is now taking up the the White Man's, errr, taxpayer's burden. That is, at least in doing the extra work to figure out how just much the US Feral Gov't will end up confiscating from our family due to our labor throughout the year '22.

Look, he started it! He didn't exactly volunteer, but after I asked him to watch me and let me explain how it worked, he asked me why I didn't fill out the downloaded .pdf's right there on the computer. It would be much more readable than my handwriting. He had a point on that, and since he likes to use the other computer - for chess, Prodigy (a video game in the guise of a learning program), and Breaking Cat News comic strips, for the most part - I told him: "Tell you what. You do 'em."

Our taxes are very easy, not on the budget but as far as the workload goes. Itemizing wouldn't get us 10% up to the Married-Filing-Jointly standard deduction of $25,900. I explained that to him. I explained how/why a tax credit is much larger, hence better, than a deduction. For the one credit, I explained how, just because the worksheet is so roundabout and confusing at the bottom, resulting in a 0, I believe we will get the $2,000 child credit nonetheless, and nobody computer had a problem with it the last few years. So, no worksheet, just the form, mmmmkaaay?

He got started, using numbers to the penny, while, normally, at least over the last 20 years, I've rounded numbers to the nearest 10 or 100 bucks, excepting the ones that need to sound like I actually added stuff up.*

With W-2's, bank end-o-year statements, copies of last year's forms in hand, and the right web-sites up for forms and instructions. I let him loose with it. He's got envelopes (doing the State forms too), checks, and stamps too. I wash my hands of the whole thing.

If one could quantify it, the amount of respect Peak Stupidity has for the IRS would come out so minuscule as to need scientific notation. Also, as I wrote in the most ridiculous but true story of IRS stupidity** last summer in Me and the IRS, I will not buy TurboTax, and I will not pay money to a "preparer". It's not the money itself, but I highly resent the idea that I should pay more of my money to determine how much money the IRS will get from me. This time, I only have to spring for some Goldfish™, preferably Super Flavor Blaster ones.

The IRS can't call me, and they can't email me. They can write letters. I can call them back, if I got time.

"What, this didn't add up? That wasn't me. That was my tax First Responder, I mean, Preparer."
"No, I don't have a phone number for him."
"Well, see, he doesn't HAVE a phone. He's too young for that. He's a dependent."
"Oh, the phone would be deductible?"
... [/Newhart]

* There is no more up to $600 charitable contributions field anymore on the main 1040 (I don't mean on the itemizing "schedules") - though we gave nearly 10x that, but there is this one number that I came up with a $271 on the State form for. I have no idea how I got it now and won't spend the time to look it up. "Should I just put the same thing then?", he asked. "Nah, that sounds too fishy. Make it $275 this time." Haha, no respect, no respect I tell ya'! (This ain't even the Feds.)

I read a bit, and that charitable contribution line was put on during the PanicFest. You may not believe this, but apparently, some taxpayers could go unlimited on that one!

** Sure enough, BTW, I never heard back. The IRS must have rummaged through the recycling bins and found my forms.

Sunday - April 16th 2023 10:33AM MST
PS: "Nice round numbers in the tens or hundreds are a fast-track to and audit."

Well, the very basic numbers off the W-2's (Wages and then tax withdrawn) and the bank thingy, I would round to the 10 or 100, but then, those numbers are still there for the IRS office, stapled on, on the W-2's etc. So they could see I was not making those up. Then, I'd just do the addition of these round numbers by hand.

Now, that one credit (I think, but it may have been only a deduction) on the State form is one I wanted to keep a non-round number. I got if off a worksheet last year, but I wasn't going to do that again, and neither was my kid.

I may be jinking myself, but I've never gotten audited. Perhaps they see the handwriting and throw up their hands.

I sure would not be a good accountant hire for the Big 4, formerly Big 6, that's for sure. "I just rounded it all off - it's still good to 3 significant figures, and I don't have time for this shit."

Reminds me of another story of my very good intentions to get straight-arrow on taxes back when it was a bit more complicated. During the week, I had gone into the Federal Building to get the right forms any everything (this was decades ago). It turned out to be a beautiful weekend after a solid week of clouds and rain. There was no way I was going to waste God's beautiful weather working for the IRS. I went hiking in the mountains instead.
The Alarmist
Sunday - April 16th 2023 4:25AM MST

Sounds like an episode of Young Sheldon.

Nice round numbers in the tens or hundreds are a fast-track to and audit. Pennies are over the top, but odd-dollar amounts seem real enough.

Better still to get paid in carried interest if your bracket is high enough.

The bank I used to work for while I was over here paid for one of the Big Six to do my taxes to ensure I was in compliance with the US tax codes. They didn’t need the Service breathing down their necks. Anyway, when I left that bank and decided to start doing my US taxes on my own, I learned that the Big Six guy didn’t know as much as he should (I suspect the grunt work was shipped off to their back office in India), and I was overpaying thousands each year, which didn’t hurt in the past because the Bank made up the difference, but now that I was winging it, it would indeed be painful, so I’m glad I spent time figuring things out.

Turbotax is probably as good as any of the now Big Four for the common folk. You have to be at least a Centimillionaire and Demonrat donor to get any grace from them Revenooers and any added value fromthe Big Four.
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