Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Many Unhappy Returns

Let joy be unconfined.
Bells are ringing, birds are singing, and nubile maidens frolic and gambol while tossing rose petals into the air! And that's only a short list of the wonderful things that aren't happening (but should) now that we've finally finished and filed our blankety-blanking federal taxes.

Instead, we simply feel a sense of weary and melancholy accomplishment, in much the same way we'd feel if we survived a gangbang in a prison shower and knew that it wasn't for the last time.

As mentioned here on Monday, there was no way the 2016 Turbotax program was going to run on our ancient (2008) Mac this year, so we ended up having to do everything using Turbotax's online site. Which was actually fine, as long as you don't mind spending $115 to wade through the government's indecipherable crap, put all of your most sensitive personal information online, and end up having no idea whatsoever if the final result is anything even marginally like correct.

Fortunately, the IRS provides a free service to help you sort everything out later. It's called an "audit."

Owing to this time (and sanity) consuming activity, we don't really have any trenchant political commentary for you today, other than to once again express our disgust with the whole system...and the legal requirement that we have to fund this madness.

43 comments:

Gpa J said...

I made it through my tax preparation with the assistance of a professional tax preparer, yet I am of the opinion that I have been violated by the prison population of a federal prison.

Tax reform cannot come too soon.

Hyzenthlay said...

I recall one of the candidates promised to do away with the IRS and make the forms as long as a postcard. Of course, he wasn't good for ratings, so most of the big radio "conservatives" didn't talk about him much -- consequently, we got the one who wanted to keep the IRS.

REM1875 said...

WTG Doc I can see the fireworks coming from your direction of the sky- oh wait. It's flashing light with water falling from the sky- it's been a long time but we believe it's rain. And it's heading your way.
And it's YUGE

Buddha said...

I recall going to hear Congressmen Dick Armey (R-TX) and Billy Tauzin (R-LA) debate a flat tax versus a national sales tax. That was right about twenty years ago. The postcard-length form was mentioned at that time, too ("How much did you make? Multiply by this percentage. Send that amount to us"). What they agreed on was that either would be better for Americans than the Charlie Foxtrot we endure every year with the IRS. This was shortly after Newt's Contract with America led to the first Republican majority in the House in decades. Given that nothing fundamental has changed since that time with respect to the income tax system, I'll suggest that no one holds his breath waiting for change to happen.

Bobo the Hobo said...

We were "helped" (audited) by the government three times while stationed overseas. Good times, good times.

Jim Irre said...

Stilt,

Paid tax preparer! I haven't actually done my taxes in nearly twenty years! Much better for the sanity and i don't spend near as much on booze!

@Buddha - the ones who held their breath turned blue and died!

Judi King said...

@Hyzenthlay: That candidate was Ted Cruz and he wants a flat 10% tax rate for everyone. I guess that is too simple for congress to understand.

Ed G. Mann said...

Damn, double damn and wtf? You are putting me on? You use a Mac? Any program that you need from pagination to Photoshop will run on windows 7 and produce a finished produce just as fast. Take it from one that can walk on water and not get my socks wet; a gift that Chuck Schumer can't do, ANY PC with all the bells and whistles is cheaper than a Mac. I shall say that I'm no friend of Gates; Windows has enough snags to make me join you in an adult beverage. The next OS will be UNIX. Linux and Open Office work just fine and I can write other programs into UNIX to work . Best part is that UNIX is virtually crash proof. I've worked on it and it is stable.

Take that kudge down to some shrimper and let him use it as a boat anchor. Or take it to CA and toss it into a landfill and pollute that state.

Fish Out of Water said...

A national sales tax in lieu of the annual spring madness has my support. But from my experience in living abroad, a national sales tax was introduced at 3%. It is now at 8% and talk of raising it to 10%.

FlyBoy said...

Slavery is still alive and well in America today, only the plantation owner is now Uncle Sucker. How much time do we spend doing tax prep, without any kind of compensation, and then sending a check to the gub'ment? Just the way our Founding Fathers envisioned it, right?

I think we'll see tax reform about the time term limits are enacted-but I can always hope.

#Fish Out of Water-I'm all in favor of the "Fair Tax" (nat'l. sales tax), but what bothers me is that unless some mechanism is put in place to prevent the tax rate from being raised whenever congress feels the need to spend more of our money, it will eventually become worse than what we have now.

Emmentaler "Puck it" Limburger said...

Fear not, dear Stilton! Those nubile maidens will be frolicking (and dropping new paydays as a result) by midsummer as your newly-calculated welfare payment is deposited into their account!

Don Surber said...

I dumped Turbo Tax a few years ago after 12 or 13 years in favor of a CPA. Turbo is $115? CPA is a few bucks more and knows what she is doing.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

@Ed G Mann: I was about to hit "publish" on a similar post Monday, but decided I didn't want to start the only holy war more violent and vitriolic than politics and religion: Mac vs. Windows v. Linux! Now that you've pried the lid off of that WMD, I will point out that OS X is simply a layer written atop BSD Linux, and leave better soldiers than I to wage the remaining battles...

Emmentaler "Secret Squirrel" Limburger said...

(@Stilton: One word: hackintosh. Google is your friend.)

Barks said...

Did you subtract the $2,500 obama health savings from the taxes owed at the bottom of your 1040?

mjloehrer said...

I know how you all feel. The picture is on target

Bill said...

Hello,

I have a small business.

The Federal 1040 is the least of my tax burden.

Pennsylvania requires two forms for the S-corp, the Fed requires one, the local requires one.

Pennsylvania requires one personal return and another for local taxes. The local taxes have been farmed out to some small town in central PA, and it is difficult to contact them to try to get the forms. And the forms are almost indecipherable.

Then I have to send them all by certified mail at an extra cost, and then save the stack until all the little green cards come back.

Bill Moore

Dee said...

Went with the CPA deal a few years ago and consider it money well spent. FYI, Best Buy has MacBook Air for $800 on sale. Just got a new one & love it.

Fred Ciampi said...

There's a book by Neil Boortz and some other guy about a flat tax written a few years ago. Made a lot of sense which is why it will never fly.

When I lived in the big city before moving to hillybillyland I would run around on April 15th yelling "I would rather have a sister working in a whorehouse than a brother working for the IRS". That's part of the reason I moved to the mountains...

Howcome a hunnert years ago or so we had no tax but had a stable gubbermint, roads, bridges, beer, and all the good things life had to offer? Just wondering.

Fish Out of Water said...

Exactly!

MD Vickery said...

The tax proposed by Boortz is the FAIR Tax. It does several things that would be terrific for the people and the country, therefore is unlikely to be adopted. It would eliminate the IRS. Completely. It would limit the power of congress by establishing the tax rate within a constitutional amendment. It would allow businesses to flourish without financial hindrance. It would decimate K street and most of the lobbyists there. It is very simple. None of the these concepts could be understood by congresscritters. Fairtax.org

Walter L Stafford said...

The mention of a gang bang in the prison shower goes along so well with what our dear Uncle Sam supported by the IRS does to the taxpayers of America every year! This happens without even a kiss or reach around! Did you get either? :-)

Geoff King said...

I wouldn't mind paying income tax if I could know which country it's going to.

MAJ Arkay said...

Fred Ciampi, a hunnert years ago we had the danged income tax, thanks to the fools who voted for the 16th Amendment. It was ratified in 1913, and that October, Congress passed the income tax.

We've been suffering for over a century. Way past time to fix that mess.

Meanwhile, Stilton, there are lots of good deals on newer Macs, and Turbotax runs just fine on them.

Bruce Bleu said...

Stilt,
This year we shut down our corporation in Colorado... cost $465 to have taxes done. Just glad it's not going to green fees for lamont or motorhome covers for magilla's frocks!!

Stan da Man said...

Bruce - really! OTOH, only so many ways to drape a caboose like that...
One reason Her Thighness Hillary doesn't do dresses, always those horrible jackets...

B Martin said...

Write it into the law that any bill passed by either house of Congress that would raise the rate, whether or not it proceeds any further, shall have the effect of reducing the rate charged by one percent. Also that any successful increase shall have the effect of removing any and all penalties for failure to file or pay.
That should slow them down.

Liberty Card said...

If any government agency needs to be deep sixed, it's the IRS. If any business forced you to give them a monthly deposit without giving you interest on your money, and then charged you a penalty if you didn't give them enough or gave them too much to cover what you "owed" them the government would have thrown their owners in jail so fast it would make your head spin. Why o supposedly free people stand for this?
Support the Fair Tax - get the IRS and government out of the bribe/fine business.

John the Econ said...

Gambol: To run or jump about playfully.

Thanks. Learned a new word today. Don't let anyone say that coming to this site can't be a valuable learning experience.

"Fortunately, the IRS provides a free service to help you sort everything out later. It's called an "audit.""

Felt guilty laughing at that one. But it's a great line.

I do my own taxes because I am a control freak, have an accounting background, and I feel that educating myself and enduring it makes me more qualified to gripe about how f-ing insane this system really is.

@Barks, I have yet to find the line where I get my $2,500 health care savings credit. I only see the lines where I am helping to pay for everyone else's.

@Fred Ciampi, Neil Boortz was an advocate of the "Fair Tax", which is a sales tax instead of the "flat tax" which is still on income. I am a fan of taxing consumption over income. But we will never see that because the social justice warriors can't get over their envy of the income of people who actually create value for our economy.

Speaking of the IRS, did you hear about this one?

IRS Gives “After School Satan Club” Tax-Exempt Status in 10 Days

"While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) makes conservative groups wait years for tax-exempt status an “After School Satan Club” launched to hinder Christian-based counterparts got its nonprofit ranking in just ten days..."

If you ever decide to create a tax-exempt organization, make sure to name it something totally offensive to rational people. Approval will be a slide on ice.

Lee The Voice said...

Another reason I am a Libertarian.

txGreg said...

I have a similar concern to FlyBoy with regards to a consumption-based tax system. Unless it was made hard to change (as per the amendment mentioned by MD Vickery) we all know what would happen. Five minutes after passing the new tax law, SJW types on both sides of the aisle would start proposing changes to increase the tax rate on items they deem to be "luxury" or want to get rid of (fancy cars, guns, etc...)

And considering the utter contempt with which all three branches of Fedzilla view our Constitution lately, I suspect even putting the new plan and rate into an amendment wouldn't slow them down much.

Colby Muenster said...

Congratulations, Stilton! My lazy-ass son who is on food stamps, and gets roughly $3k more back from the IRS than he pays in, thanks you!

@Judi King,
Congress understand the flat 10% tax rate just fine. It will never become a reality, though because none of them want to pay that much. And just imagine what would happen to the typical Democrat when their base finds out they have to (gasp!) start paying taxes!

Then again, I'm fooling myself here. These lo-fo idiots would vote Democrat no matter what. Maxine Waters is living proof.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@GPA J- I think it's likely that I'll try the CPA route next year, if only to avoid all the stress this whole process causes.

@Hyzenthlay- I've always loved the idea of the postcard-sized tax return. Sigh...

@REM1875- Yeah, we had some weather blow through last night but it missed the Jarlsberg household. This tends to be an exciting time of year in north Texas.

@Buddha- As you point out, the ideas for tax reform have been around for a long time. Sadly, they'll probably never be enacted because Congress will never be willing to relinquish the power they get from administering the current, crookedly convoluted system.

@Bobo the Hobo- Stories like yours make it seem unlikely that audits are as "random" as they're claimed to be.

@Jim Irre- I'm definitely leaning that way at this point.

@Judi King- I'm always frustrated and flabbergasted at the Liberals who believe that if a pauper and a billionaire are each taxed at 10%, they're "paying the same." D'oh!

@Ed G. Mann- I bought a Windows laptop and ended up giving it away because I couldn't make any sense of Windows at all. I don't doubt that it works fine for lots of people, but I've been a Mac user so long that I think I'm past the crossover point. ESPECIALLY if it's just for the pleasure of doing my taxes.

@Fish Out of Water- Good point. Anything the government touches will not stay "reasonable" for long.

@FlyBoy- If the Emancipation Proclamation had said that slaves would become free 5 days a week, wouldn't they still have been slaves on the other 2 days? So why can't we make that same assessment when we're compelled to turn over the fruits of our labors at a rate of 30% or more?

@Emmentaler- They may not be dancing as much as they expect to; my tax bill was very minimal this year owing to my brilliant strategy of having a laughable income!

@Barks- The IRS should actually include that "$2500 Obamacare savings" line on tax forms and then say "just kidding."

@mjloehrer- I like to think that the image properly captured the elation I was feeling.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Bill- I feel your pain. Fortunately, Texas has no state taxes so I don't have to mess with that nonsense.

And I stopped bothering to send in my federal returns by certified mail at the point the IRS declared that a certified mail receipt - even one with a "received" signature from the IRS - could not be used as proof that your return was submitted on time.

@Dee- I may well get a new Mac, albeit a desktop model of some sort.

@Fred Ciampi- Way back then, the gummint wasn't in the business of social engineering, and America's citizenry didn't believe that everyone was entitled to free food, shelter, healthcare, and walking around money.

@Fish Out of Water- Heck yeah!

@MD Vickery- How I love the idea of abolishing the IRS. Failing that, I'd still like to key Lois Lerner's car.

@Walter L Stafford- Well, I kind of got a reach around; the Feds decided that I'd paid too much for my Obamacare policy, so decided to send me some additional subsidy money.

@Geoff King- So often, you say things that would make great t-shirt slogans (grin).

@MAJ Arkay- Yes, maybe I'll buy a new Mac exclusively for business use (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) that I can deduct on my taxes, and keep my crappy old machines for personal use.

@Bruce Bleu- On the other hand, we don't know what Trump uses to wipe his hiney with in the White House...

@Stan da Man- I assume that Hillary's jacket outfits make it easier to switch out her colostomy bag.

@B Martin- I'm all for it!

@Liberty Card- The IRS really is a godawful agency. And the idea of combining it with the healthcare system is a nightmare.

@John the Econ- You didn't know "gambol?" I'm surprised, what with your well known penchant for toga parties (grin).

Like you, I also have some "control issues" that force me to do my own taxes. I don't trust others to do things right, and I also don't like signing any document "under the penalty of perjury" that I don't fully understand. But as I've mentioned above, I may go the CPA route in the future.

Regarding the "After School Satan Club," I can only shake my head.

@Lee the Voice- I consider myself Libertarian/Conservative. I have no patience with either the GOP or Dems. Or most other groups and people (grin).

@txGreg- No "simple" system would stay simple, and no "fair" tax would remain fair. That's the magic of bureaucracy.

@Colby Muenster- I'm reminded of the big spanish-language radio campaign (under Obama) that encouraged people to get on food stamps "whether you need them or not." Helping the helpless is fine, but giving stuff away to those who aren't actually in need is insane - although a great way to get votes!

Pete (Detroit) said...

Then there's this.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/28/alabama-congressman-files-one-sentence-bill-to-repeal-obamacare.html

Symbolic Jester my loving hump!
DOOOO EEEEEET!!!!!
Burn it w/ FIRE!!!!

Then, you can get motivated about what to do about getting providers to publish prices, tort reform, and other such things that will actually drive costs down, as well as figuring out what to do about the "30 million" who can't afford insurance, and the 30 million who have $$$ for fancy phones, booze, tobacco and other drugs, tattoos, 100 pair of shoes, etc, etc.. but who decide not to get insurance...

Lots of good ideas (including 'eff 'em) that makes for good debate, but wholly CARP let's get RID of the poison that's KILLING us first!

And i'm not buying that the current system is too far gone to pick up the slack... MOST of us have SOME kind of crappy policy, they can keep giving us that until they get something better on the table. And the first company (BCBS, AETNA, who ever) who dusts off a policy set "that we USED to sell" and bumps the price 10% (from what it was 10 years ago) will get an ASS TON of subscribers.
Probably set up a web page to do it, in a week, maybe?

Freaking pathetic...
Ohhhh, noooo, we can't do THAT....
Why the bloody eff NOT?!?!?
GRRRR

Makes me mad as taxes, almost...

Colby Muenster said...

@Pete,
AMEN!

Anonymous said...

When Stilton's folk was in IRS land
Let my people go

Oppressed so hard they could not stand
Let my people go...

Sal Monella

REM1875 said...

Someone else will have to do my taxes this year --- I just don't have enough room left anything to spread all that paperwork out on.
Mrs Rem will be spared another foul mouth tantrum - at least over the taxes

Bruce Bleu said...

Stan da Man...

shrillary is trying to hide those cankles... THAT'S why she avoids dresses.

Also, shrillary's jacket seamstress puts old things to good use... she uses the Space Shuttle Main Engine nozzles as a form to make those jackets... (they're 10 feet in diameter at the "business end").

Bruce Bleu said...

Stilton,
HOPEFULLY Trump uses old campaign posters of lamont to do the "paperwork" these days. Or else, he could buy those rolls off the internet that already have the "crap" on them!

Emmentaler Limburger said...

Per using a CPA: you still have to organize your documentation. I find this to be the most onerous part of the process, so TurboTax usually gets my patronage. The only reason a CPA is doing my taxes currently (which I find to be ID theft risk and an invasion of my privacy, but, I guess, anyone can get my returns by hacking government data, anyway) is because the Company had me working out of the country, and they have this "equalization" process to prevent me from paying my entire income to two countries - only one of which I freely choose to be in.

@Pete: we could be brothers. Spot on. The insurers, for the most part, left the market; they didn't go out of business. Another benefit would be all the early retirements in the medical professions brought about by Ă˜bamacare's onerous reporting requirements: maybe they'll reconsider and return to the market? In any case, leaving the tumor on the industry for another year or two whilst the panty-waists in Congress try to get their collective poop in a group and build their courage up will most certainly make the patient critical, if not kill it outright. I say they should drop a Fat Man on the whole Ă˜bamacare thing, and let the market heal itself. And then reform the lawyers and the medical industry's protections and practices as they affect consumers and consumer choice...

MAX Redline said...

You use a Mac?

My money goes to nothing associated with AlGore.

Popular Front said...

In the light of your recent comments regarding tax time Stilton, I'd say it's not a case of 'fweeep' but more likely a case of 'braaapppp!!'