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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Taxing isn't it?

I am about to sit down and do my United States Federal Income Tax Return. Prayers would be appreciated.

I have always been somewhat intimidated by the U.S. tax code, mainly because it is so large that no human being will ever be able to read it. (A visual representation of the tax code, albeit oversimplified, can be found here.) We are therefore forced to rely upon an expurgated version in the form of a 60-70 page booklet produced by the IRS. This is, of course, like calling the definition of the word "cat" printed on a business-size card an expurgated version of the Oxford English Dictionary. What's most intimidating though is the feeling that if you stray slightly amiss in your calculations and preparations that the Internal Revenue Service will be obliged to send someone over, if only for their own entertainment.

No matter what happens or how careful you are, a few of you will receive these "friendly" visits from the IRS. They will arrive at your door, fully equipped with their assortment of angular and sharp alien probes, the only practical thing the U.S. military ever got out of Roswell. They will investigate you in ways that you previously only thought were possible by medical practicioners skilled in examinations of human bodily cavities. Only, you will feel much worse than that when they are finished. They will never smile at you, only nod and ask questions in a monotone voice akin to HAL 9000, (like this one, or this one, this one, this one, or worst of all this one, but never this one) whilst you slowly sweat away 30% of your body weight and pray for death. These are the original Men in Black (Only now they include women, who are ruthlessly determined to prove that they are as skilled in the art of orificial probity as any male extraterrestial.)

So this only raises the pressure on us to accomplish this massive task in a satisfactory, if not completely and exactingly perfect down to the neatness of the way in which you print your name on the bleeding form way.

Since I'm not especially keen on calculations and details with numbers, I rely on computer software. I shall not divulge the brand of "anti-tax", ahem...tax preparation software that I am using, but I will happily reveal that I can be easily bought for the purposes of doing so in many, many frequent posts. I hope to use any revenue generated to cover the massive penalties assessed when the IRS learns of this post, so make the offers generous.

The lovely thing about this kind of software is that it sets up all the tasks for you step by step, so that all you have to do is enter information and pray that the computer doesn't crash and corrupt the file in such a way that the IRS becomes convinced that you are laundering several million dollars via Swiss bank accounts and a suspicious Columbian coffee company named Café de la Cocaína de la Grieta (roughly translated into English as "Crack Cocaine Coffee".) Plus the software prints out the forms, attachments, and labels for the numerous blood, urine, and skin samples required.

So I'm off...to do me taxes that is. If I don't post tomorrow, just assume the sweet angels have come for me, or that I'm being probed by a particularly nasty intergalactic tax assessment prong. Must dash now, as my computer is trying to tell me something about my return.

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