Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In Which the Government Gets My Money, Even Though I Don't Feel Like They're Doing a Particularly Good Job Representing Me

Here is what it's like to do taxes in high school:

Collect W2 from employer. Give it to Dad. Dad says, "Cool, I'll take care of that." Several months later, receive check in mail. Rejoice.

Here is what it's like to do taxes in college: 

Collect W2 from employer. Lose it in stack of papers. Two months later, panic and turn desk inside out looking for it. Succeed. Give it to Dad. Several months later, receive check in mail. Rejoice.

Here is what it's like to do taxes as a newlywed:

Collect W2s from employers. Add up the two numbers. Write numbers on forms and send forms to government. Several months later, receive check in mail. Rejoice.

Here is what it's like to do taxes when you have one job but that job involves the occasional speaking engagement and you have one W2 but about eight miscellaneous income forms from the different groups you spoke to and your husband is a graduate student and he was a non-resident for the first term of the year and he has a lot of receipts for school-related expenses like books and protractors and and you also moved across the country and have about a thousand receipts documenting the move:

Collect every piece of paper you have touched in the past year. Have a glass of wine. Regard papers. Wonder what would happen if you wrote a letter to the IRS saying "How about we just call it even this year?" Have a cookie. Compose letter. Show letter to husband. Giggle manically while husband deletes letter. Call H&R Block and try not to sound too hysterical on the phone. Resolve to become a hermit next year.

We know what would be easier? We could make taxes proportional to how well we feel the government's done. I'm happy to pay my state and local taxes this year, for example. The roads aren't too pothole-y and the trash is always picked up on time. The state parks are well maintained and they're always careful to post warnings when someone has been mauled by a bear recently. Congress, however, reached an unprecedented level of incompetence this year, and I just don't trust them with my money. 

If you need me at any point in the next week, I can be found on my couch amidst a pile of papers and file folders and ballpoint pens and paper clips and post-it notes, wishing that we were still on the feudal system and I could satisfy my debt to the government (or benevolent overlord) with a few sheaves of wheat and my daughter's hand in marriage. Wish me luck. 


  1. H&R Block isn't just making it all better?? :(

  2. Oh, they're making it better. But they seem curiously indisposed to accept promises of my firstborn daughter's hand in marriage as payment. The poops.

  3. I generally use H&R Block (am lazy with the maths) and the payment has always been less than the eventual refund, although I don't know how your refund situation will turn out of course.

  4. Also, I only have to pay for the simple form, which it sounds like you're past at this point.