Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Infernal Revenue Service
We just finished e-filing our federal taxes for the year, and are now experiencing that indefinable afterglow which is usually felt only by men who dropped their soap in a prison shower. Which we hope won't be our own fate after an audit since we don't actually have much confidence that our tax preparation software is more accurate than feeding our receipts into a meat grinder.
As usual, we found ourselves in the rarified ranks of those who actually have to pay an assload of taxes, which is surprising since our actual income is, as Hillary would say, deplorable.
Not that we're poor, mind you. We've spent a lifetime being thrifty and depositing money into a retirement account which has ripened appreciably over time. But this particular set of circumstances leads to some genuinely weird outcomes at tax time - especially since we took a substantial chunk of money out of the stock market last year to pay for our home remodeling. Oops!
Magically, this single transaction transformed us from being potential food stamp recipients to being members of the most despised group on Earth: the evil rich.
Which brings us to some amusing financial trivia about an average American family we'll call "the Jarlsbergs"...
• Our combined household income (not including the stock sale) from a small business and a pension was actually less than we were required to pay for health insurance last year - even with one person on Medicare!
• After the withdrawal, upon which we had to pay very substantial capital gains taxes, we were also informed that as wealthy bastards we didn't deserve the Obamacare subsidy we'd received last year, so we had to cough up an additional $3500 in taxes to reimburse the government for services we'd never used.
• Based on that same determination, the cost of our Medicare plans went up too. Which came as something as a surprise, since we'd always thought Medicare was sort of a 100% paid for service once one reaches their arthritic golden years. Or at least something for which everyone would pay the same. Ha, ha! The joke's on us!
• Owing to our status as stinking wealth-mongers, we were given zero credit for our charitable donations last year, which included a significant amount of cash and several rooms of furniture. Of course, we didn't make the donations to get tax deductions. We made them to try to buy our way into Heaven.
• Finally, our actual outgoing tax payment to the government was approximately 2500% more than our entire net business earnings for 2017. Yeah, that bolsters the old entrepreneurial spirit!
Of course, our glass is still more than half full; we only owed all those taxes because our stocks grew like Jack's beanstalk on steroids. But we still hate sending our money to a bureaucracy which will only waste it.
On that note, the 1040 form asks us if we'd like to donate $3 to the Presidential Election Fund and gives us only the options of "yes" or "no." We would strongly suggest that next year they add a box saying "Oh, HELL no." It would be the only part of the form we'd actually enjoy filling out.
Posted by Stilton Jarlsberg at 12:01 AM