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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
Mike can be contacted via e-mail at mike@mikeredmondonline.com.

 

 

 

 No Joke! Funny Tales from the IRS

I seem to know a lot of funny professionals. My doctor, my dentist, my accountant – they’re all jokesters.

Most of the time this is all right. MOST of the time. There are exceptions.

My former physician, the retired-and-greatly-missed Dr. Shecky, had a knack for making a joke while the flashlight gizmo was still in my nose. More than once I just about shot the thing across the room. And my dentist, Dr. Laughing Gas, just loves to pull that dentist stunt of asking a question that requires a complete sentence to answer – but only after your mouth is full of dentist fingers.

And then there’s my accountant, Chuckles.

This is April, and if there’s ever a month you don’t want a jokey accountant, this is the one. It’s tax time, and you’re about to sign off on a document and in doing so, swear that every last bit of it is the absolute truth, and if it isn’t the Internal Revenue Service can send you to a labor camp in Antarctica. You’d think this might cut down on the hilarity, but no. Take a look at some of Chuckles’ tax-time Laff Riots:

        * “I went ahead and claimed a cat as your dependent. Congratulations. You now have a daughter named “Mister Tinkles.”

        * “I tried a couple of unusual business deductions here. I have friends at the IRS and they tell me these things work almost 14 percent of the time.”

        * “Oh, by the way: If you look at Form 1190 WOWO, you now own 45 percent of Vandelay Industries. Don’t ask.”

        * “You’d better check my figures. Math was never my strong suit.”

And the classic:

        * “Don’t worry. If the IRS questions anything in your return, we promise to visit you in prison.”

Now, the truth is that Chuckles is a very good accountant. What am I saying? He’s a wizard. And he approaches the whole tax business as a sort of contest between the IRS and us.

By that I mean there are a finite number of legitimate deductions available to someone in my circumstances. If we miss them, the IRS isn’t going to tell us about it, so it’s up to us – that is, Chuckles – to find every last one of them. And he does.

I used to do my own taxes. I called him in because the IRS and I were in dispute to the tune of a several thousand dollars (you can guess which side of the dispute I was on.) Well, Chuckles not only cleared up the mess (and got me to swear off tax return software) but also went through my records and found a few overlooked opportunities. As it turned out, the IRS ended up paying me about twice what they said I owed.

So you can see why I put up with Chuckles’ jokes.

That said, I still can’t help being a little nervous this time of year. Once you’ve received one of those “Nice Try, Now Pay Up” letters from the government, April is nerve-wracking, even with a pro like Chuckles on the job.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sign this year’s return.

Chuckles says I might want to double up on the Prozac first.

I think he’s joking. I hope he’s joking. Please let him be joking.

 

 

 

© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.