Keeping the IRS happy can be taxing

Keeping the IRS happy can be taxing by Bob Karolevitz I'm sorry but there will be no column this week.

The reason: I'm too busy getting my stuff ready for the income tax man.

I realize it's kind of late, but I like to delay hurtful things as long as I can.

It isn't that we have so much to give; it's just that I have to re-live the past year economic-wise, like how much we took in and what we shelled out.

Fervently I tried to get Phyllis to take over this annual chore, but her answer was: "No way!"

"I'll do the dishes, make the beds and cook the meals," she huffed, "but the fiscal job is yours."

"Aw, come now," I argued. "Didn't Monsignor Reilly say 'love, honor and do income tax' when he hitched us?"

"That's not the way I remember it," she retorted. "I'll cleave unto you like I'm supposed to, but the accountant stuff is out!"

And so I sit here with my desk covered with receipts and checkbook stubs, trying to make heads or tails out of all the paperwork.

Shucks, I don't even remember what I had for breakfast. How an I supposed to recall what we spent last September and for what?

The Arthur Anderson guys took the easy way out. They just shredded all the Enron documents!

Well, I don't have a shredder; and even if I did, I'm not about to get rid of anything I might need to support my work. I certainly don't want to get crosswise with the IRS.

I guess what I hate most is making all those decisions. I know that contributions to churches and legitimate charities are deductible, and so is all that money we spent for prescription drugs. But then there are those marginal things.

For instance, Phyllis thinks her pets are therapeutic and that we should claim some deductions for them. But I try to explain to her that Baxter and Bailey � her two inside cats � don't qualify, no matter how much stress they reduce for her.

The same is true for her miniature horses and all the birds she feeds.

May be it's a good thing after all that she doesn't mess with our tax report. She'd probably claim items which an IRS auditor would view with suspicion.

Me? I have a little trouble squeezing a bit out for writing expenses and public relations. After all, they are both pretty subjective, and I don't want Uncle Sam to get any wrong ideas.

No one knows � not even Phyllis � how much I sweat out my column every Monday. Thank goodness I'm betting a reprieve now because the tax information is far more important than what I write. That April 15 deadline is sneaking up on me, and I fear the CPA more than I do an editor!

So you'll just have to get along without my literary pearls in this issue of your favorite newspaper. God and the Internal Revenue Service willing, I'll be back next week with my usual words of wisdom.

Words of wisdom? On that score, Phyllis thinks I'm no Keats, Shelley or one of the Evangelists. But than I'm no Arthur Anderson either.

© 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz

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