Free-Floating Hostility

Sunday, April 15, 2007

In which the IRS Strains the Language

The IRS website features a certain link titled "What's Hot in Forms and Publications." Think that's chutzpah? It leads to this page, titled "What's Hot in Tax Forms, Publications and Other Tax Products." And it's, as Jeffy would say, hawt.

This year, we decided to stop flushing our money down the toilet and also to do our own taxes. As usual, we were able to negotiate an equitable division of labor: I agreed to do our taxes if Mike would locate our W-2's. He, it turned out, had been keeping our W-2s in a stack on my desk, so shortly after we shook on this arrangement, he appeared at my side, saying "Here you go. Vaya con Dios."

That was not really the end of his servitude. For one thing, he couldn't get very far away. My desk was the eye of the tax prep hurricane, and if he wandered outside it he was likely to be swept up in a maelstrom of "What's your social? What's our bank's routing number? Do you think we qualify for a Telephone Excise Tax Credit?" and occasionally "Where do you think you're going?".

We'll see if we get audited, but at the moment, we appear to have come out way ahead. Last year we paid about $100 in taxes, and $217 to get our taxes prepared. This year we got a four-figure refund and paid ten bucks for the privilege of sweating it out ourselves. We decided to voluntarily add a little extra to our state taxes to benefit certain funds for disease research, primarily so that we could round our remaining state tax debt to $34. I am a little nervous about the fact that the service we used misspelled "withdrawal."

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