Friday, March 24, 2017

Uncomfortably Numbers

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, taxes, black books, accountant, 1040

There are plenty of newsworthy things to talk about today, including radical Islamic terror, the impending (or not) House vote on Obamacare repeal, Trump's surveillance accusations, mainstream media burying the story of illegal aliens raping a 14 year-old girl in a school bathroom, and Chuck Schumer declaring that the Democrats will filibuster Neil Gorsuch's nomination for Supreme Court Justice in hopes of being rewarded with 72 virgins in the afterlife.

And why aren't we talking about these juicy topics? Because instead of keeping up with the news, we've spent the entire day working on our freaking taxes.

And we aren't even up to working on the actual, impenetrably baffling tax forms yet - a task which must be postponed until we've made a run to the liquor store. Rather, we're still at the beginning of the process, doing our once-a-year data entry of receipts into an ancient accounting program that we don't clearly remember how to use anymore.

As Life's grand parade passes us by, we're sitting scrunched at a desk squinting at every credit card charge, cancelled check, and crumpled receipt which passed through our underpaid hands in 2016...then peck-peck-pecking the numbers on a keyboard, hands cramping, until we want to scream.

The whole process is a white hot pain in the rear, but it's very important to make sure that everything in our tax return is completely accurate and above board. Because 12 years from now it's entirely possible that an older but no wiser Rachel Maddow may be waving our returns at a TV camera.

BONUS: Since we didn't have time to be particularly witty today, enjoy this clip from the wonderful TV series "Black Books," in which Bernard Black visits his accountant at tax time...


Mike aka Proof said...

By some small coincidence, I just finished filing my taxes mere moments ago. If I were there, I'd buy you a nice stiff drink.

Columba said...

Instead of waterboarding, we should subject captured enemy combatants to the "instructions" and "help" pages on the IRS web site.

james daily said...

Lest we forget and by some miracle you get thru on the 800 number to ask one of the highly paid staff a question, their answer is not binding with the IRS and could subject you to even greater woes in the form of penalties and incarceration. Wonderful system our fearless leaders have subjected on us.


Jim Irre said...

I don't know why accountants aren't wealthier than lawyers.

L.C.Clower said...

Black's accountant reminds me of the SNL skit with John Belushi as an accountant.

Geoff King said...

People who complain about their income tax can be divided into two categories: Men and women.
- Anonymous -

Dave Neumann said...

I refuse to figure out my own taxes. We pay a CPA to do ours, I just sign the e-file form and sit back and wait. If I had to look at the numbers, and then reflect on how DC spends my money, I would become quite angry and throw things around the house. Like Jefferson said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." I see a lot of social disorder coming to America in the net 20 years.

Pete (Detroit) said...

Obamacare vote - burn it w/ fire.
cancel it, rip it out whole hog, and they start over, beginning w/ defining the problem - X many Millions of Persons who, not having health insurance, show up at ERs for non-emergency care, driving up costs to us all. THEN, separate those who CAN not buy insurance from those who CHOOSE not to (but have plenty money for tattoos, high end phones, smokes, booze and other drugs..) Figure a way to assist the first group, if we think that's necessary, and wish teh 2nd group well...
I've heard ideas I like - vouchers to the destitute to apply towards basic insurance, Gov't funded Neighborhood Clinics... lots of things that don't require Gummint messing up the lives of the rest of us...

Also, someone needs to remind the President that He does NOT control the agenda of Congress... "Vote on this NOW, or forget it, we're moving on..."
Well, nice sentiment (ps, vote NO) but Sorry Mr. Trump, What issues come up for what votes when is NOT something you actually have control over...

14 yr old - Who CARES if it was consensual, as the lawyer for (at least) one has claimed...
She's freaking under age! If I laid finger one on a 14 yr old, whether I meant it as 'sexy' or not, they'd be all over me like white on a white guy.
Why are these two wastes of space still breathing my air?

Confirmation - he was unamimously confirmed to the Circuit - suddenly he's grown horns? Schumer is REALLY showing his ass as he attempts to be swinging his junk...

Taxes - periodically, b/n all the noise about Russians and wiretaps and
immigration, and walls, and BummerCareLite you occasionally hear people wanting to address tax reform. I confess, the "fair tax" (national sales tax, w/ "prebates" to "refund" "low income" people on taxes for "necessities") seems stupid complicated to administer, if easy to collect. The ONLY advantage I can see is that it would collect on black / grey market cash economies when people used cash to buy stuff.
Personally I MUCH prefer a modified flat tax - you get $15k exemption (for instance) for yourself and spouse, $5k for each kid, and family of 4 pays nothing (other than a minimumm amount to ensure we ALL pay SOME thing...) on first $40k. After that, everyone pays 17%... No deductions... (ok, maybe medical, IRA, Med IRA, etc - still... "Taxible income" is one line item...)
Do your taxes in 20 min on a postcard... I'd give up my mortgage deduction for that...

Boligat said...

Sorry Pete, but I would go for the FAIR Tax in a heartbeat, because with it the IRS GOES AWAY. I would, however, make the prebates optional. If you want one you would have to apply to the Dept of Treasury and supply them with whatever documentation they want/need. I know this would probably hit the poor hardest as they are the ones usually most deficient in record keeping, etc. etc. etc. but too bad. In many cases they are poor because of bad choices and bad... choices.

Totally agree on your assessment of Gorsuch/Shumer, the rape case in Maryland and Trump/Congress. If Congress passes a bill he WILL have to deal with it. Ryan and McConnell had better grow some gonads and deal with this or Congress will be in the same situation as it was with O.

Question of the Day: Why doesn't Chuckie have freckles?

Answer: He's so slimy they slide off.

Bruce Bleu said...

The reason democraps are looking for virgins in the afterlife is because they have already "screwed" every citizen in the country... no "virgins" left!

Jim Irre:
In the beginning of the 20th century accountants DID make more than lawyers. If accts got into politics you'd see tax and investment situations that would put them back on top!

Emmentaler "MultiSexual" Limburger said...

@Geoff: How 20th century. Now there are INFINITE categories, per Google. Men, women, various binary and non-binaries; trans; confused, diffused, and the category I usually find myself in: refused.

jlw said...

@ Boligat

gotta go with Pete on the Fair vs Flat tax debate. if starting new, i would go Fair Tax. however, changing from an income based tax to a consumption based tax would result in double taxation of accumulated assets. an asset acquired under income based taxation has one value. under consumption based taxation it has a different value and if acquired under one and spent under the other it has a third. the penalty could be partially offset by allowing IRAs, 401(k)s, etc to be withdrawn without taxation and taxed on consumption, but the feds will never give up the 12 trillion in deferred asset taxation. if they did, then i would agree with you.

John the Econ said...

I've always been a "fair tax" guy, but it will never happen. It's simply too "fair" in that it makes people who escape income taxes by having no reportable income pay taxes. Plus it deprives Congress half of its power derived by constantly tweaking the reams of tax code for special interests.

Trump & Health Care: Sticking with my prediction that Trump will deliver "single payer" before 2020.

OpenTheDoor said...

Dammit man, here I went and finally quit clicking on the cheese head, what's he do, throw one slow, high and outside.
Missed it by that much.
Heeee's back.
Thank you sir, we salute you.
Funny enough, got mine back, taxes, $1K less than I thought.
Guess I won't be making that down payment on a new Porsche.
Oh bother.

Colby Muenster said...

My sincere sympathies go to you, Stilton. Mrs. Muenster always does our taxes using TurboTax, and I never have to mess with it. She is the best woman in the world!

What are you, some sort of monster?! Our constitution explicitly prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

Tax methods: current IRS vs Fair or Flat....
Trump and the House of Reprehensitives promised to totally repeal O'Liarcare and replace it with free market health care. Now we're getting O'Trumpcare (O'Liarcare Lite). This tells me that the next big thing on Trump's agenda, tax reform, is just going to be IRS Lite. A Flat or Fair tax will NEVER happen because it would mean the end of a free ride for roughly 100 million people.

Pete (Detroit) said...

Boligat - don't get me wrong, I'll take FAIR over what we have, but would prefer Flat. Nice part about FAIR is anything I don't spend, I get to keep.
Of course, that becomes problematical for a commerce driven economy (as does a 20-25% price jump on EVERY thing) but hey, different plans, different problems... Several similar advantages of paring back IRS, lowering compliance costs...

Tim said...

"Thank you for calling the IRS 24-hour helpline. If you have not been waiting 24 hours, please remain on the line..."

Unknown said...


Thanks a million for introducing me to Black Blooks. Watched the first two on Netflix and I was dying laughing!

Best wishes,


MAX Redline said...

Ah Feel Yor Pain. Thanks to the "Affordable Healthcare Act" and the fact that we made a bit more money last year than we thought we would, we owe the feds. The plus is that we get some of it back from the state. I liked it better when you could figure it out early on; you didn't get a big refund, but you didn't end up giving the govs an interest-free loan, either.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Mike aka Proof- I'd drink it, too.

@Columba- I really like that idea. Make them get the right final figures in order to get bread and water! (Of course, there are no "right" final figures).

@James Daily- I forget the actual stats, but I think it's actually a less than 50% likelihood that advice from the IRS will be correct.

@Jim Irre- Maybe they ARE, but no how to hide it!

@L.C.Clower- I'll have to look that up! I'm a big fan of "Black Books," and it's currently on Netflix for streaming subscribers.

@Geoff King- Well, that was true until recently. How about "men," "women," and "other?"

@Dave Neumann- Just once I paid an expert to do my taxes. He completely screwed them up and was thousands of dollars off. I haven't trusted anyone else to do it since. I do NOT want to be the new guy in the prison shower...

@Pete (Detroit)- By now, everyone will have heard that the Republican's screwed the pooch, and the healthcare bill was pulled. I like some of the suggestions you're making, but Trump has already announced his (ahem) "plan" to let our health insurance / healthcare system collapse to teach the Democrats a lesson. The only problem is, this will NOT cause the public to clamor for a market driven solution - they will be screaming for a TOTAL AND IMMEDIATE takeover of the healthcare system by government. I think single-payer is inevitable now.

Regarding the rape case, I do want to hear more information. Statutory rape is still rape, but if it was consensual and the guys were stupid kids themselves, then it changes the dynamic a bit. Although the whole mess is depressing.

Regarding taxes, I'd be happy to see a flat tax - though it will never happen.

@Boligat- I like Fair Tax proposals, too. Anything that would knock the IRS out of business sounds good to me.

@Bruce Bleu- Speaking of accountants, I'm still shaking my head that former Treasury secretary Tim Geithner couldn't do his own taxes, even using Turbotax.

@Emmentaler- Yes, but do you identify as someone who gets laid?

@jlw- You've put your finger on what I don't like about a consumption tax: it would seriously devalue every dollar I've worked decades to save.

@John the Econ- You're exactly right; more than anything else, Congress wouldn't be willing to give up the power they derive from making tax policy.

And per Trump and healthcare, I completely agree with you. Single-payer is inevitable at this point, and Trump will declare it to be "great!"

@OpenTheDoor- It's kismet; we're fated to be together.

@Colby Muenster- I use Turbotax, though have only so-so confidence that it's giving me accurate totals. I seriously can't read a single sentence of instructions on the actual tax forms without getting apoplectic. And I'm sure Mrs. J would be happy to do our taxes, only I have a lot of odd receipts which would need explaining, making it faster to do it myself. Which still isn't "fast."

Regarding healthcare, we're not getting Obamacare Lite, we're getting full Obamacare. Along those same lines, I wouldn't bet the farm on getting meaningful tax reform out of Trump and the Republicans.

@Pete (Detroit)- Fair or Flat, we're unlikely to see either. Dang it.

@Tim- You've nailed their idea of customer service! I applaud you.

@Phil- The whole Black Book series is just wonderful. Happy to have shared it with you!

@MAX Redline- Currently, I don't just have to figure out my taxes but also have to figure out how much income I can receive in order to avoid losing my health insurance subsidy. It's insanity!

American Cowboy said...

I for one believe I have found the answer to the tax problem. DON'T WORK!
No income, no tax.
Just let the rest of the productive, responsible citizens pay my way. I think I deserve it.
(Sarcasm off)

Boligat said...

@American Cowboy

I remember reading, years ago, about a conversation between a social worker and a welfare bum. It was in a book by Charles Murray, I think, about poverty in the US.

"Why don't you find a job? You could work."

"Why would I do that?"

"So you can earn money and save for the future."

"But why?"

"So you could retire and not have to work."

"I'm not doing that now!"

I was paraphrasing, but Murray's point was that the poor are just poor, they aren't stupid.

Judi King said...

I'd like to see a simple 10% flat tax for everyone with no exemptions for anyone. See Ted Cruz's tax plan.

John the Econ said...

And don't forget, it's "Earth Hour" tonight where you're supposed to turn off your lights for an hour to stave off "climate change", or at least virtue signal that you take the problem seriously. Seriously.

Judi King said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll be sure to turn more lights on.

Colby Muenster said...

John the Econ,
That'it... every light in my house will be burning all damn night.

JustSomeGuy said...

So basically, you are saying you need a Manny?
or just more wine and cigarettes?