2017-04-19 / Editorials

Tax time again

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

It’s that oft-anticipated time of the year again when the government, after spending all year getting its grubby little paws into your paycheck every two weeks, is coming back for more.

Tax Day is on April 18 this year, delayed a few days by a weekend and an obscure federal holiday. No matter, if you haven’t started making phony receipts, you’d better get busy.

Millions of Americans have already filed their taxes, months ahead of the dreaded deadline because they managed to finagle the system in such a way that they actually got refund checks from the feds. They’ll use those checks for such things as a vacation at Dollywood or a 62-inch television for the living room so they can watch “Dancing with the Stars” in high definition.

Years ago, I had figured my withholding almost perfectly so that I would either break even or get a small refund. One year, I actually owed the state $1.

But a few years ago, I began doing some freelance writing and graphic design, and as a result, I’ve had to write checks to the both the feds and the state for several years, which made me angry. So I refigured my withholding again, and this year, I got a small refund from the federal government, but I still owe the state $111, which I’m not sending them until the last possible moment.

In my effort to cut my tax liability as much as possible, I decide to contact an accountant for advice. Unfortunately, because every legitimate accountant I know is working 22 hours a day helping all those folks who waited until the last minute, the only one I could find with available appointments was Guido “The Shark” Gambino. He doesn’t have an office. He operates out of the trunk of his 1984 Buick Skylark he parks in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.

I was a little uncomfortable about the situation, but Guido and his associates put me at ease. They promised me a fair and professional session.

For instance:

— Guido promised that all tax preparations and consultations are strictly confidential. “One peep about who put this return together and you’ll be wearing concrete shoes,” Guido’s secretary, Kitty “Dollface” Esperanza, told me.

— Guido told me his associates have years of experience in tax law. One, for instance, spent five to 10 in Leavenworth learning that you have to declare the 500 grand you made in that gambling fraud incident.

— Guido said he can guaranteed that I wouldn’t be audited for anything he put on my return. “But if the IRS tries to audit you, don’t worry. We’ll be there for you,” he said. “If there’s still a problem, we have ways to making people disappear.”

— Guido suggested that I be creative with my deductions and adjustments. “You should deduct any expenses incurred by Milly, the liver and white springer spaniel who lives at your house,” he said. “You write about her in your column, which is part of your work, so she’s clearly a business deduction.”

— If I do manage to get a refund check, Guido requires that I bring it to him to cash. “There will be a small, 90 percent check-cashing charge,” he said.

I decided to pass on Guido’s services and just pay the state what I owe them. After all, money can’t bring happiness.

Besides, if it did, imagine what the taxes would be on that.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN.com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke@gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/blog/mitch.

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