Friday, April 15, 2005

Taxes Attacks Us

March has the Ides and April has the taxes. Beware the two fifteenths! Beware the Ides of March was a good piece of advice that Julius Caesar ignored. He got the point and was stuck with it. Beware the Taxes of April was advice that Al Capone should have heeded. In a way he got the point also, for he was nailed for tax evasion.
* Every year on this date, there are those nervous, despondent faces of those who have waited until the Nth hour to file their State and Federal taxes. Whether they are filing themselves or are paying someone to prepare them, their numbers are large.
* Despite advice to have accurate records, there will be those souls who arrive at H&R Blockhead's offices with stacks of receipts and notes on napkins and shirt sleeves. Almost all of the receipts are not acceptable. The notes are as ridiculous as they are sublime. Some are shocked to discover that they cannot claim their cats, dogs, and birds as dependents. (Crap! I have to start all over. I forgot about that pet thing.) Why is that the car they had towed to the junk yard cannot be deducted? They are perplexed to learn they need a receipt for the twelve thousand dollars in charitable contributions they had made during the year. That the church gave them no receipts makes no difference, is something they are not too happy to hear.
* Some show up in suits with coordinated ties and socks to make the best impression. Surely if they show up looking successful, then surely they will be given the benefit of any doubt. It seems to them that if they are well dressed and kempt and their records are neat and organized, every thing they declare will be accepted post haste.
Others show up in tattered or worn clothing, looking for all the world paupers. A preparer will surely see that they are indigent and need every break they can get.
* How successful are the ploys of appearance? Well, let's just say that appearance and a dime will not get you a cup of coffee. The following story pretty much explains the fruits of appearance to sway tax preparers and auditors.
* A man is faced with meeting with an IRS examiner who will be auditing his recent tax filings. Worried sick, he seeks advice from his neighbor who is a successful Stock Broker. Walking next door past his neighbor's two Jaguars, he knocks on the door. Inside, he relates his plight to the neighbor.
* "How should I dress?" he asks.
* "Wear the best suit you own. Have your shirt and pants cleaned and pressed. Make sure your shoes are polished. Make sure you are clean and well shaven," advised the broker. "Make the auditor think you are a successful business man. A successful man does not cheat on his taxes because he doesn't have to."
* Leaving his neighbors house, he is still uncertain. He is not sure that as a middle income office clerk that he can convince anyone that he is a highly successful business man. He decides to call on his lawyer to see what advice he might get from him.
* Sitting in a coffee shop with his lawyer he explains his plight and what the stock broker had told him.
* "Take it from me," the lawyer began. "You need to do just the opposite. I want you wear the raggiest suit you own. Don't wear a matching tie. These auditors are not idiots. They will see right through that ploy. You need to see him as a poor man, barely eking out a living. He will take pity on you and go easy on you."
* Afterward, he is more perplexed than ever. Both options from obviously successful men required him to be less than honest. He was walking past his church and decided to talk to his Rabbi.
* After hearing the man's story and the two sets of conflicting advice he had received, the Rabbi assured him that everything would work out favorably.
* "I can best help you by telling you an appropriate story," said the Rabbi.
* "Okay," the man said not certain that this would help him.
* "A young woman is getting married. She is distraught because she is not sure what she would wear to bed on her wedding night. Her mother told her to wear a floor length long sleeved night gown to keep an air of mystery over her new husband. Like you, she sought out more advice. Her best friend told her to wear the skimpiest, sheerest and most revealing negligee she could find." The Rabbi smiled and nodded at him.
* "But what has a bride and what she wears on her wedding night got to do with me? How can this help me with an IRS audit?" he asked the Rabbi in anguish.
* The Rabbi spoke almost in a whisper, "You and that bride are quite alike. For no matter what you wear, in the end you are screwed!"
* Well, good luck with your tax filings today folks. Ahem, I filed mine in February. I have since received both refunds in the mail and deposited them. In fact, those funds have since been depleted. Though it is too late now for you, the best advice is to file early and not wait until the last minute. Ponder that while you go through your closets and dressers looking for the good suit or the old suit. Remember the advice when you look for your flannel gowns or those see-through teddies. Try not to get screwed....too much!
No. 109

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