It seems like I’m paying more in income taxes every year. My tax preparer just completed my return and it appears that I owe more in taxes than I actually earned last year. Very discouraging. In full disclosure, my tax preparer was my college-age daughter. I’m thinking subtraction may not be her forte. But in her defense, she was tutored in math by her father.
Like most Americans – other than my brother Todd – I always pay my taxes. But I am concerned the government will just squander my taxes on unnecessary government boondoggle projects. I assure you, I am perfectly capable of squandering those funds on my own boondoggle projects with no help from Uncle Sam, thank you very much.
I read the other day that many of the largest Fortune 500 companies routinely claim so many business deductions and tax loopholes that they avoid paying any federal income tax at all. Apparently the key is to become a multi-billion dollar global enterprise with incriminating photos of a U.S. Senator having gay sex with an under-age intern or a sheep, and you won’t have to pay a dime. That seems totally unfair. The only incriminating photos I can get my hands on are a couple embarrassing selfies I took at last year’s company holiday party dressed as Gumby in drag.
I believe it’s time that we demand our government take drastic action to simplify the tax code. I’ve come up with a plan that will make it far easier for me to pay my fair share – which based on my rough calculations, comes to nineteen dollars and forty-seven cents (give or take a quarter). Under my plan the following items would become tax deductible expenses:
Losses from the annual Super Bowl office betting pool. Personally, I’m not that into sports, but as a manager I feel it’s my responsibility to participate in this office activity as a morale builder for my team. Under my proposed legislation, this deduction ideally would also cover my losses incurred in annual office betting pools for the World Series, NCAA basketball March Madness, Stanley Cup, Masters golf tournament, U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, Academy Awards, The Bachelor reality show, the over-under pool on how many days Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s marriage will last, and my weekly interest payments to my loan shark, Salvatore (aka “Pit Bull”).
Business entertainment expenses – specifically, my pair of over-priced Seattle Mariners season tickets. The Mariners have had twelve consecutive losing seasons. I read somewhere that losses can be written off on your tax return. Besides, I bought these tickets to conduct important meetings with prospective customers in search of an advertising sponsor for this blog. Unfortunately none of them have agreed to join me at the ballpark (thanks a lot, Jeff Bezos), so I usually just go with my neighbor, Bert Zablinski. His business advice is to shut down this blog immediately, write it off as a total loss, file for bankruptcy, and loan him $150 until next payday.
Medical expenses for depression counseling. From the mental anguish of having to endure watching twelve emotionally scarring seasons of Seattle Mariners baseball losses, sitting next to my annoying moocher of a neighbor, Bert Zablinski.
Vet Affairs tax break. Congress has recently passed bills providing all sorts of tax breaks for vets. Well, then the least Congress can do is pass along some additional tax breaks to the patriotic Americans like me who quietly support our vets. I don’t like to brag, but I’ve been a longtime supporter of vets in my community, forking over to them countless dollars for spaying and neutering procedures for over the years. Surely that entitles me to some sort of tax break.
The 1998 Hyundai owner’s deduction. This tax break would be part of Congress’ omnibus “Sympathy for Those Forced to Drive Old Pieces of Crap Act” (popularly referred to as “Toyotacare”). It would cover the multiple replacements of my Hyundai’s transmission, driveshaft, brakes (twice), carburetor (three times), ignition, and car horn, plus related expenses for towing, temporary car rental, and anger management therapy sessions.
Home office deduction – for the business use of my La-Z-Boy five-speed massage recliner and the 65” HD flat panel TV in our family room – which I use exclusively to check work email and would never use for recreational purposes, such as streaming Netflix shows like House of Cards, in which Kevin Spacey is awesome – or so I am told.
Business travel deduction. I really hate to travel. Like our trip to Italy last fall. Grueling. Or our ten-year anniversary trip to that beach resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Exhausting. Or the other 15 vacations I’ve taken since 1992. All of these trips were of course conducted as field research studies to develop ideas for this blog. The fact that I did not actually start writing this blog until 2009 is something I’m hoping can be our little secret. The IRS does not need to know every detail.
I’m also planning on claiming the entire population of the island nation of Montserrat as dependents. After all, I sent them a check for $200 after that hurricane swept through and leveled everything. I figure my generous donation should keep them going for at least another year.
Finally, just out of principle, I refuse to pay taxes on any of the profits from this blog because…. Oh wait. Um, never mind.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2014