April 17, 2013

April 17, 2013

Not So 1040EZ

Another tax season has come and gone, and with it the joys and anguish that is filing taxes in modern-day America. After several years of doing my own taxes (by hand, as the good Lord intended it), I caved last year and went to H&R Block. Either I spent countless hours getting frustrated and breaking into tears, or I paid someone $200 to do that for me. Since I’m both upwardly-mobile and childless, this was a no-brainer. DO MY BIDDING, ACCOUNTANT WENCH!

*cracks whip*

Both of my experiences with H&R Block have been acceptable. Note that I’m not raving, but neither am I complaining. (Count that as a win, H&R Block. Offer me refreshments next year and you’ll move closer to the “rave” column.) Be glad that I don’t own property, invest, or have kids. The only trickiness I bring to the table is a Health Savings Account and a surname with eleven letters.

While catching up on the USA TODAY*, though, I saw a startling headline: “My Tax Accountant is a High School Kid.” Now, obviously, there are a number of intelligent, diligent, responsible high schoolers out there. Maybe even the same number as when I was in that demographic.** But really? A recent statistic that I may be quoting incorrectly and/or out of context (minor details) cited the current tax code length as 73,000 pages. It’s not exactly The Scarlet Letter, is it?

[insert plug for a flat tax here]

The plus side to child labor, of course, is their willingness to accept complete nonsense at face value. Which, in a weird way, makes them the perfect intermediaries between us taxpayers and the IRS.

Huh.

* BTW, so glad to be back in America. SO GLAD. Of all the countries I’ve visited, the only one that I regretted leaving was the UK. Otherwise I savor returning to a country with standard measurements, a 12-hour clock, and Diet Coke that is actually Diet Coke and not Coke Zero in a silver bottle labeled “Coca Cola Light.” USA! USA! USA!
** Which is over a decade ago. Pipe down, Grandma’s about to tell you more.

1 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke:

Just to clarify, the program that the USA Today article was referring to was the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program which provides free tax preparation to low income families. The students are actually trained by the IRS as certified tax preparers. It's an awesome program that allows people to give back to their communities.