Friday, April 8, 2016

Don't Mess With Taxes

obama, obama jokes, political, humor, cartoon, conservative, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, taxes, terror, guantanamo, trump, primaries

At Hope n' Change, we know discerning readers like you are here for trenchant commentary on current news events - not just angry rants about petty personal problems. Which is why we're going to get the news out of the way as quickly as possible so we can move on to kvetching about our petty personal problems. Ready?

Barry just let two explosives experts out of Guantanamo Bay, no doubt because the bad guys LOST two bomb experts when they blew themselves up in Brussels. Fair is fair. Which is also Barry's apparent rationale in claiming that executive "prosecutorial discretion" allows him to dictate that illegal aliens won't be prosecuted for taking tax refunds, social security, and welfare benefits they're not entitled to.

Bernie and Hillary are on the campaign trail, each saying that the other is unqualified to be president - and for once, both are right. Cruz is getting booed in New York, and Trump just swore to streamline the government by closing the "Department of Environmentals," which he abbreviated "The DEP" for reasons which are still unclear to us. All in all, Hope n' Change is sick of the primaries, we hope to avoid talking about them anymore, and we're absolutely going to vote for WHOMEVER is running against the Democratic candidate, even if it's Vlad the Impaler.

And now, on with the griping!

We're still working on our taxes, and the work involved has stretched from days to weeks. Our desk is only theoretically lurking somewhere beneath the myriad receipts, notes, notices, and scribbled ledgers which are actively reproducing in the area surrounding the computer. And we had to drop $100 for Turbotax because physical tax forms are harder to decipher than a terrorist's smartphone.

Among the things Turbotax discovered for us is that we were remiss in not creating and sending a 1099-MISC form (months ago!) to a workman who received a couple of grand from us for repadding our cell (sometimes, the news makes us a bit...agitated). The IRS will happily let you look up and download the blank form online "for educational purposes," but won't accept the form for official use unless it's printed on their Magic Paper. Which means you have to order it online and wait for "7 to 15 days" which means we were almost certainly not going to get our taxes completed on time.

One day later, we were able to eliminate the "almost" part of that statement when we discovered we ALSO needed to order Form 1096 on Magic Paper and include it with the 1099-Misc we were sending to the IRS. The Form 1096 exists to say, and we're not making this up, "there should also be a 1099-Misc in this envelope." Without the 1096, IRS examiners will only stare at the 1099-Misc in bafflement and say "what the...what the hell is this?!"

But the real blow came when computing our taxable income, owing to an "oopsy" near the end of last year. The stock market was in turmoil, and we decided to move much of our retirement money out of the bloody knife-fighting arena of stocks and stick the loot into money market funds for awhile. Such a transfer is a non-taxable event (since the money stays in the retirement account) and can be easily done in a nanosecond with a click of a mouse.

Unfortunately, it's just as easy (and irrevocable) to click that mouse button and realize that you just sold your stocks and the money is leaving your protected account - and suddenly the money you were expecting to live on for years has magically become your lump sum 2015 income! We were instantly transported to the lofty nosebleed section of tax brackets normally reserved for those evil "millionaires and billionaires" who Barry is currently shmoozing with in California to raise money.

But wait - there's more! Thanks to the unexpected surge in our apparent income, Turbotax pointed out that we no longer deserved last year's Obamacare subsidy because we'd suddenly turned loathesome - and so an additional $10,500 "payback" was added to our taxes - bringing the total up to about $40,000 which we'll be paying by tear-stained check. Of course, Hope n' Change reliably brings in about $40 a month in ad revenue, which means we'll have the whole amount paid off in just 83 years!

Still, if the money can make it easier for a few illegal aliens to enjoy their retirement, provide free college for a flag-burning youth or two, or fund just a few hours of fuel for Air Force One to go on partisan political fundraising junkets, then it's all worthwhile.

And believe us, we'd never say that if the drugs (deductible) and alcohol (not deductible) hadn't just kicked in.



Joseph ET said...

My first advise is for you to file an Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return you may find it within TurboTax and if you are going to owe them send a partial payment. You can purchase packs of 1099 and 1096 forms at most stationary stores including Staples
. I’m finding that I have those forms within my H&R Block ‘tax cut’ software. Which makes me wonder if one needs the special ink or paper if you e-file?

I’m not sure about your IRA issue, but maybe a quick visit to a finance counselor would be advisable and worth the fee verses the large tax or fee you may be looking at and never getting back. Maybe you just took a loan from that IRA and you are paying it back? Some people do that. I’ve been happy with my guy at Edwards Jones, well most of the time, but that’s a different story.

Joseph ET said...

Perhaps you can temporality omit your IRA information for now and file a
Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

Just sayin’

ChuckD said...

"Click" just did my small part to help....

KatinKansas said...

I love you, absolutely love you. I discovered this blog about a month ago, and have spent several sleepless early morning hours reading the entire archive. Bless you for bringing illumination and cheer to many dark and restless hours.

Regarding your tax situation, I believe that you need to see a financial specialist to help you shove that retirement cash jinn back into its bottle. It does truly sound as if you are beleaguered and beset by financial woes these days.

However, as you are a CONSERVATIVE blogger, you are probably on the IRS hit list, and your photo prominently displayed in the lobbies of the FBI, HSA, NSA, and DNC along with mine and several other conservatives. Its not fair, I know.

Like you I'm willing to back anyone who can beat Shill Hillery and Batty Bernie. I soured on Donald after the first week of his campaign, and Ted has been rendered null by the usual campaign shennagins that are so entrenched in our electoral system.



Geoff King said...

Interestingly disgusting fact: the US Tax Code contains 3.8 million words. By comparison, Tolstoy's "War and Peace" is a brief 600,000 words.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Joseph ET- Nah, I'm going to get everything turned in on time. I strongly believe that my suffering should stop (for awhile) every April 15th. Regarding official forms on acceptable paper, I'll be darned if I'm going to buy a pack of each at Staples when I only need one.

Regarding the larger problem, I knew the mistake in its entirety one second after I made it. And I consulted with financial advisors immediately. They all agreed that I was screwed.

@ChuckD- Assuming that "click" meant you paid your taxes, you have the thanks of a grateful nation. Not the United States, of course - no one here is grateful for anything. I mean whatever foreign nation will be getting a handout with your tax dollars. Probably Iran.

@kat livingood- There are some extenuating circumstances I left out of the narrative above for brevity's sake. Suffice it to say "you can't fix stupid," and in this case I was the one who did something stupid. Well, stupid-ish.

@Geoff King- I don't think it will ever happen, but every time Crukz says he'll abolish the IRS it makes my heart beat a little faster.

Bruce Bleu said...

So, what you are saying makes perfect sense, lamont is not a "President" but rather an "employment agency" for fellow terrorists! I say FELLOW terrorists because nobody else has done as much to promote terrorism than "Osama Obama" (with thanks to Turd Kennedy for coining the name). Not even his ideological doppelgänger Osama bin Floatin would have run this country any differently, being "constrained" by the Constitution.

Sally Jo said...

Been in a similar sitch with the gob'mint...and it still hurts to sit. My sympathies...

Cookie said...

Sure sorry about your tax woes. Sounds like Murphy's Law got you a good one. On a better note, please thank you niece for the "fleece" lyrics. I've sung it twice now. Brought a smile to my face. I just wish it weren't so true!

Cookie said...

That should say thank YOUR niece. Hate it when I don't proof read.

Tim said...

Don't think of them as bombers. Think of them as "dislocated clock makers."

james daily said...

On the taxes, I got a form that said I was a partner in a utility company. This is within my IRA. Anyways, after me son spent 30-45 minutes navigating the blanks and such for a $300 income, the tax program said I did not have to include that as it had already been filed. He almost trashed my computer but a tall SMS chilled him out. There has got to be a special place in hell for IRS people, especially the rule makers.

GenEarly said...

on the comment, "even if it's Vlad the Impaler".....suggested change: "even" to "especially"

John the Econ said...

I recently visited with a friend with relatives who reside south of the border, who related the tale of some that shamelessly spoke of the 5-figure returns they receive from us. The interesting thing is that most don't even seem to see it as a crime; they think of it as you or might think of collecting boxtops and mailing them in for a prize.

Just something cheerful to consider as you prepare to write your 5-figure check, which will basically cover but two or three of these "remittances" already mailed to our friends to the south.

Oh, and remember that these same people who are responsible for being such careful stewards of our national treasury by mindlessly mailing 5-figure checks for obviously fraudulent returns also wish to micromanage your retirement accounts.

Amazingly, this year I completed and filed the Econ family taxes at the beginning of March. The primary reason for this is that we had one less business to account for, reducing the number of parties and waiting involved for vital data and forms. This got me thinking to how easily and quickly I could get my taxes done if I were to fold my remaining business and simply live off "the people" like the aforementioned friends to the south do. Who knows, under a Bernie "we'll pay for it all" paradigm, I may find out.

I think your niece needs to be added to the H&C staff, not that you can afford to divide up that $40/mo ad revenue.

Wait, you're making $40/mo? Maybe I should start a blog.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Bruce Bleu- Barry really IS an employment agency for terrorists. And look how many "shovel ready" victims they've created together!

@Sally Jo- Sorry that you're in the same sinking boat.

@Cookie- I think you just thanked my niece yourself: she regularly reads the blog!

@Tim- That's a beautiful thought.

@James Daily- I think "Taxation" should be declared its own language, which isn't even vaguely related to English (and is in fact closer to Algebra). On many occasions, groups of "professional" tax preparers have been given identical test data to work with, and no two of them ever get the same results. In fact, there are HUGE variations.

@GenEarly- Now that you mention it, that's a good idea...

@John the Econ- As a bonus detail to my tax adventures, not only do I have to "pay back" the $10,500 subsidy, but they're simply calling it a tax. So follow the logic: that means that I'm actually paying $10,500 more for my health insurance than I was able to declare on my taxes, meaning I lose that amount as a legitimate self-employed deduction, costing me ANOTHER $1500 on top of the $10,500. Bastards.

And of course all of this has me steaming mad about Obamacare and Barry's illegal executive actions giving away MY FREAKING MONEY to illegals. For me to grab benefits I'm not entitled to would be fraud, with criminal penalties. For the illegals, it's simply free money for the taking.

Like you, I've considered streamlining (or deep-sixing) various business ventures just to simplify my life and the paperwork. File for my social security and medicare (well, in a year) and give the world a suggestion which involves a rolling donut. But so far, I can't. I've got this annoying need to be responsible and productive, no matter what the punishment.

By the way, this turned out to be an expensive post today; talking about the $40 a month reminded me that Google never sent me a statement of earnings and I forgot to report that income. So today I've got to add another $500 or so to my taxable total. It sucks to be obsessively honest (wry grin).

Unknown said...

You put into a few words that which is the ever-confusing operation of the IRS. People really won't know what to do with all their spare time in April when the tax form goes to one page and the instructions to two-pages, as per Mr. Trump. I would imagine this time of year that the suicide rate goes up exponentially with the number of tax forms filed. My husband, too, will be bending over and owing this year due to his Soc Sec kicking in and riding the wait-and-see roller coaster by not having taxes taken out. I am on SSDI, but still have taxes taken out of it as I no longer have the ability to bend over like I used to. To all the hard-working, retirement-planning, tax-paying honest Americans, God bless you all for supporting this government so they can support all the freeloaders that are making Americans collectively bend over.

John the Econ said...

@Stilton, as a fellow self-employed "old school" American who defines "The American Dream" as being "an independent citizen beholden to nobody", I share your pain. I fear that our generation may be the last to have any idea what "freedom" actually meant. That literally makes me want to cry.

What we are experiencing here is part of the "war on the middle class". (This war is what is driving much of Trump's popularity, even if most of the people involved don't realize it as such) We knew from day-1 what ObamaCare really was; a mechanism to finish off true "independence" in America, because they know that once they control access to health care, they control us. We both know that the 5-figures we're paying today just for the insurance is designed on purpose to beat us into submission.

The tax code is another front in the war. If you're "rich", your accountant(s) deal with it; you sign the forms and your check and you're done. If you're poor, you don't have to do anything unless you want the free money, in which those strip-mall places will be happy to do the work for you for a slice of the spoils. And if you're a scofflaw, you can profit handsomely with minimal risk. But if you're in the "middle", you get to experience this personally at high cost in time, money, and anguish. If should you somehow make a mistake with with those 3.8 million words of rules, they'll make sure you know it.

Every time I hear Hillary or Bernie propose "fixing" something, all I see is another million words added to the rules. The "middle" voting for these clowns have no idea what's coming.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

Your niece is brilliant, sir! Almost done with this year's documentation of donations to welfare recipients, with check.

Suzy said...

Working at a tax office, every year I'm appalled at the amount of taxes some people have to pay. Recently a person who made 2 million dollars from salary and stock options ended up owing the government $740,000. I didn't see the state tax amount, but the local tax was an additional $17,000 and property tax another $11,000. Once you add in sales tax and car tax and state tax, the taxpayer is looking at losing almost half of his money to the government.

"I wouldn't care, if I had a million dollars!" people say.

Yes, and that is what is wrong with America. When it's not YOUR two million that you worked your butt off for and then lost half, you don't care. But you don't realize that the money you want to steal from one guy might someday be your own, provided you are actually a productive member of society. My income is pretty modest, yet I totally understand "fair", and people who earn good money these days are certainly not being treated fairly.

(And taxing investments so ruthlessly is horrible! Only slightly less horrible than taxing dead people!)

Linda Fox said...

Call an accountant - right away! They can save you WAY more money than they cost.

Failing that, keep in mind, that if you can replace the money in the retirement account (like you have that much just laying around), you MIGHT be able to escape the tax hit.

Navyvet said...

You can get those 1099 and 1096 forms from Office Depot or Office Max. Usually in stock. If not I ordered them online from one or the other and they showed up in two days.

Linda Lee said...

I am so sorry for what has happened to you. There should be some kind of recourse, and I was going to recommend going to a former IRS agent for help, or to a tax advisor but I see that has already been covered in the comments. I do wonder if you could get someone to intercede for you to lessen the loss. My husband and I had a big battle with the IRS about 20 years ago. They were going to drop the matter but then we slipped up and let them know that our house was paid off, so things didn't go well for us. We had to sell the house to pay them off and start all over again. All of our money was in the house instead of bank accounts - we thought it would be safer, but it wasn't.
One other experience we had with the IRS earlier did go well. Apparently they routinely send out mailings saying that you underpaid your taxes in a prior year and need to send another payment. Most people just write the check because they don't want to fight. My husband wrote back and said, 'No, actually, according to my records, I overpaid. If you disagree, show me where I'm wrong.' They sent a letter back thanking him for 'your attention to the matter' and Case Closed!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Sandy Link- As much as anything else, I resent losing about two weeks of work time to preparing my taxes. There's a value to my time that I can't get back. I would love a flat tax which eliminates the need for the IRS. And one thing that is worth noting: the reason the tax code has so many tens of thousands of pages and so many loopholes is because it was all concocted by those in Washington as a means of controlling people and/or rewarding those with the deepest pockets. The IRS (via its regulations) is probably the most corrupt institution in the government. And that's saying something.

@John the Econ- Amen, brother. The whole idea behind current tax policy is to punish and subjugate those in the middle class who are still striving for personal independence - even when it means embracing personal risk and responsibility. This system can't be "fixed" - it can only be eliminated.

@Emmentaler Limburger- She is brilliant! Also a wonderful wife and mother, hard worker, talented writer, and gifted artist.

@Suzy- Bless you for showing sympathy to the least-loved pariahs on Earth: the working wealthy. The people who say they'd be fine paying a million dollars in taxes if they had a million dollars left over have obviously never worked to earn two million dollars.

I get sick of the Lefties arguing that usurious taxation is only "fair." No - fair is everyone playing by the same rules. Fair would be a flat tax of 10% in which a person who earns $10,000 pays $1000 and a person who earns $1 million pays $100,000. The truly observant will notice that the evil rich guy is still paying 100 times more. But rich or poor, everyone at least has skin in the game - and incentive to keep working to improve their lot. Which unsurprisingly would raise the amount of funds available through taxation to hopefully accomplish a little good.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Linda McWilliams- I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions but as I said a couple of comments ago, I'm the one who's in the wrong here. I owe what I owe (whether I like it or not), and unlike a Liberal I'm not going to cry, pout, protest, poop on a police car, or wail that someone else should pay my bills.

As much as I hate writing a check for $40,000 - there's a silver lining to this story: I can afford to do it. Because the reason the taxes on my stock sales are so high is because the stocks I sold made quite a bit of money. So while I could have chosen a more tax-favorable method for selling those stocks, the simple fact is that once I've paid my taxes the remaining profit is all mine.

And that's kind of a good thing. Despite all the rhetoric on the Left that Wall Street is actively screwing little guys like me, the truth is that Wall Street has all but assured me a comfortable and solvent retirement. By contrast, I'll probably never see more than a fraction returned of what I've paid into Social Security and Medicare. I've probably paid over a quarter million in health insurance premiums over the years without getting anything back. Heaven knows I've seen no return on my taxes. So the ability for a little guy like me to invest (without being punished for "speculation" like Hillary and Bernie want) has made a big difference in my life.

I hate paying taxes and I hate Obamacare. But I'd be a damn fool to concentrate only on what I hate instead of showing some gratitude for what I still have.

Anonymous said...

My wife had to do an Offer in Compromise with the IRS. The same year, the neighbors who have two children, bragged about not paying any tax and getting a $7000 refund. About the amount the wife paid at the time.

Transfer from one house to another. And her father asks her if she feels guilty for not paying more taxes. HAHAHAHAHA

chipmunk said...

I believe I'll print out those song lyrics and post them at my workstation. A new classic!

Tots said...

I wish there was more that I could do. I have just enough to pay my bills and we don't live an extravagant lifestyle by any means. I can only empthize.

I've struggled with feelings of despair and I wonder if that is why TV shows like The Walking Dead are so popuar. People think the end is near and they THINK they will be the heroes in the story. That it will all come down and be an adventure.

I'm in my 40's now and while I've thought our election options have sucked before I have never felt the urgency to do something in an election with no good choice as an option.

Meanwhile I hear friends who are liberal list off how Obama is a great president, he got everyone healthcare (see your posts on how fantastic that is), how he got us out of war (Daesh sends its thanks for that) and how he has improved our world standing (North Korea, Iran and Cuba certainly think so). I hear them talk about coruption but they bring up Halliburtan as an example. They don't see any kind of bad or hypocracy in "Teh Won".

Meanwhile, I see all of the politicians for the liars they are. I'm stuggling with hope. Hmmm.

I weep for my children; for all our children. I pray I am simply over-reacting and things will continue on. It just loks like insanity and everyone around just accepts the insanity as the way it has always been.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Chipmunk- Now we need to find a guy with a guitar to sing 'em...!

@Tots- I completely empathize with your comments and agree with them. That being said, this is not the time for despondency. It's easy to feel like everything is going to Hell if we pay too much attention to the news. In part, because what's considered "news" these days is almost always bad news - which is a skewed reality.

This is still a great country, good things are happening every day, and most people turn out to be pretty nice folks when you get to know them (yes, even misguided liberals). Sometimes I think about what previous generations went through during the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the World Wars, and more. Americans made it through those times and by comparison we've still got it easy. Which doesn't mean we should stop fighting for what we believe in - but does mean that we shouldn't get overwhelmed. There's no shame in taking a breather from politics from time to time to concentrate on other important and rewarding aspects of life.

And despite exercising my right to grumble on this blog, I still try to encourage people to laugh in the face of adversity. It's not hard to do if we don't take ourselves too seriously - or at least that's what my good friend Johnny Optimism tells me.

Elections come and go, as do politicians, scandals, and crises...but America is still the watch that takes a licking and keeps on ticking (to refer to an ad slogan you may be too young to remember).

MAX Redline said...

Ah feel yur pain. Although I get TurboTax for less than half that price.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@MAX Redline- I have to use the Turbotax Home & Business version which is significantly more expensive than some of the other versions. On the other hand, if that's what YOU'RE using and you got a deal on it, tell me where so I can score a copy next year!

John the Econ said...

You want to know what expensive is? Having to file taxes in multiple states and jurisdictions.