My war with income tax

TV Hagenah

Well, Income tax day has come and gone and once again my wife has sworn not to let me near our income tax forms next year. In the past the members of the Internal Revenue Service have requested much the same.

Back in the 1990s they suggested that their computers were not up to dealing with my mathematical ability. Personally, I thought that was a compliment to my calulator-like mind until my wife pointed to the note at the end of the letter they sent us stating “most people realize that 3 plus 4 equals seven not 63.”

In my own defense on that one, it was an easy mistake to make…I think… It had something to do with the numbers 3 and 4, which have never been good numbers for me.

I admit it. I am not good with numbers. For the longest time, I thought my wife had 87 cats around our house. It turns out there are only three. I think a couple of them have been bringing dates around the to “meet the family,” so I can probably be excused for that one too. And as I pointed out to my wife, all cats look alike. I must admit she did counter with the comment that the three of hers are all different colors. I haven’t figured out a comeback for that one yet.

I remember that I thought there were 87 cats because I tried to take them off my income tax as deductions a couple of years back; first as children. (my wife always says they are very child-like – but then again, she says that about me a great deal, too), but the IRS said no.

I then tried to take their food and kitty litter off as a necessary business expense. My contention was that since I had mentioned them twice in my column I should be able to do that since I am a newspaperman. They responded that I have also mentioned the Tucumcari Convention Center, Franklin McCasland’s cattle and Suddam Hussain in my column and using my logic, I should be able to write all of them off my income tax as a business expense, too. I said I thought that was a good idea. They said no.

I think part of the problem comes down to the fact that so much of the stuff deals with letters and numbers and as I have said before, I have something of a blind spot in those areas. I mean there’s the 1040 A, 1040-B, 1040-EZ, 1040-EZA, there are W-4 forms, and W-2 and WD-40.

I realize that most people don’t consider WD-40 with these other letter/number combinations around this time of the year, but it is for me, especially this year. I was working on a neighbor kid’s bicycle at the same time I was working on our income tax and spilled the oil on the forms. On the positive side, the bicycle seems to be working really well.
Also since there was some confusion when I called in an order to replace the spilled oil (I requested a spare can of WD-40 as a replacement and they sent me 40 cans of hair replacement oil), I think I might be able to write the cans off as either a business loss or a medical expense.

That’s another thing about the IRS, they are really picky about what they allow for medical expenses. Both my bar bill and my liquor store bill were disallowed as “nerve treatments”. They’re are much the same about religious donations, too. Neither my season tickets for UNM basketball nor my retreats on Labor Day, July 4, and Memorial Day at Ute Lake were allowed as deduction in that area.

My wife contends the whole problem stems from my economic theory that as long as there are checks in the checkbook, I will be able to cover my bills. She keeps saying, “just because you have checks doesn’t mean you have money in the account.”

I sure hope that doesn’t hold true when you write checks to the IRS.