WARNING: People with high blood pressure or ulcers should not read this column. | TheFencePost.com

WARNING: People with high blood pressure or ulcers should not read this column.

Let’s talk taxes, shall we? I am qualified to discuss this subject because in addition to all my other talents, like being able to juggle and do quadratic equations, I am also a CPA. That’s right, I’m a member of the Cow Punchers Association (CPA) who get together on a semi-regular basis to eat a tax deductible lunch and cuss the IRS.

I’m qualified to discuss and cuss taxes because in 45 years of paying them I’ve only been audited once by the IRS. And after that audit the IRS actually sent me a check for $500 that I overpaid. I became immediately intaxicated; that’s the euphoric feeling one gets when he or she gets money back from the IRS.

I’m really glad that National Emancipation Day has come and gone. That’s the day every year when you quit working for the government. It’s calculated by the Tax Foundation and in 2019 it was April 16. According to the Tax Foundation the average American will spend 42 days just to pay state and federal taxes, 29 days to pay Social Security and Medicare, 11 days paying property taxes, 13 days to pay the interest on the national debt and 14 days for national defense. That’s the equivalent of 109 days per year to pay all your taxes! Another way of looking at it is you’re working every Monday just to pay state and federal income tax. In a normal eight hour day nearly three of the hours are spent working for the government.

When you add in sales taxes and other assorted fees and licenses you spend more on taxes than you do for food, clothing and shelter combined. For a nation that was established to avoid taxes we sure do pay a lot of them.

After I overpaid the one year I did our taxes my wife never trusted me again and so we send them off to a real CPA who “prepares them.” Albert Einstein, universally considered the smartest person of his generation, said the hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax code. Which is currently 7 million words long. It definitely takes more brains to figure out the income tax due than it does to make the money in the first place.

We interviewed a few different CPA’s before we decided on the person who would eventually do our taxes for 40 years. The first guy we talked to asked us stuff like, “How aggressive do you want to be?” And, “Are either of you divorced?” I asked why he would ask such a question and he said, “The biggest snitches to the IRS are divorced wives and husbands.”

The second CPA we talked to spent a long time explaining the difference between “tax avoidance” and “tax evasion” both of which cost him 10 years in the slammer later on in his career. I’m glad we didn’t choose him or we might be bunkmates right now in San Quentin.

The third CPA asked me all sorts of questions like, “Are you a competitive body builder?”

He should have known just by looking at me. It turns out that a body builder can deduct the oil put on his or her bulging muscles. The CPA also asked if my wife was an actress because if she was we could write off a pair of fake boobs as a stage prop. He also explained how we could deduct a cat who killed mice who ate feedstuffs, if we only had a cat. We left when he told us how we could deduct last years taxes as a bad investment.

When we entered the office of the fourth CPA he had a big sign on one wall that just said, THEIRS. “Look at that word and tell me what you see,” the CPA said, as if it was an eye exam. “If you see just one word you could end up in the jailhouse. If you see two words you’ll probably end up in the poorhouse. If you see see two words, THE IRS, you’re already well aware of who is gonna end up with all the money you made last year.”

Then he handed us a worksheet and a prescription for a new drug called Senditall. ❖

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Lee Pitts

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