25 January 2007

On Taxes

In light of the tax season upon us, I give you my response to last year's attempts to figure my own:

Every year at about this time I stare blankly at the meaningless numbers. Taxes. The W-2's report an amount far exceeding what I have in actuality. A fair portion of that number, the government laid claim to before I ever saw it. Now, it's time to see if they will pity me and return some of my hard earned dollars, or if I must begrudgingly send out money I desperately need to survive.

The process to figure out taxes, my father assures me, is easy. But as I try to decipher the manual to my 1040EZ, I realize the booklet is written in an obscure and elite form of English known as Bureaucratese (which, I discover, is a proper word). It may have well be in Old English or Latin, for all I can understand. I would even take King James English; at least I have read enough Shakespeare to appreciate the ornate, archaic language.

The worksheet instructs me to add numbers according to my marital and dependency status. I do so, and try to figure out why it matters. I panic and call my father. He explains I need not look for meaning in the numbers (and tells me I am over-schooled). If only my schooling helped. He goes on to tell me these numbers are to force citizens to use a third party for their taxes. With this reassurance, I hang up and turn once more to the threatening numbers.

I start adding necessary, and unnecessary, numbers in my head, on my fingers, on my calculator. The figure before me tells me I owe the government a good deal more money than what rests in my bank account. I do math two more times, and then a third to make certain. Wild-eyed and frantic, I call my father again.

Dad, of course, knows I don't owe the government anything. "You're going to get most of it back," he says patiently. "You're just doing it wrong."

After discussion and negotiation, my dad agrees to once again "do my taxes this year," but next year, "I have to figure it out on my own". I agree, relieved I have another year before I must deal with the meaningless numbers the government is so concerned about.

1 comment:

  1. So is he really making you do it yourself again? Do H&R online. It's sooo easy and only took 15 minutes to do both federal and state for me.