Hurriedly, I gathered all the material I needed - the tax manual, the tax forms, a Ticonderoga #6 lead pencil, a light-deflecting visor and my lucky Football Giants' 1991 Super Bowl cap. I was ready. But before I was able to put pencil to paper, Gloria, as she does every tax season, laughed and said I should seek the services of a tax professional. And, as usual, I thought of only one, my accountant, Gerard Loophole. Gloria and I quickly ran to his office and found him busily at work, checking his lottery-picks.Gerard remembered us and smartly addressed us by our social security numbers. He also remembered to tell me not to do what I did last year when I stormed into the postmaster's office to report threatening letters I was receiving and I wanted them to stop it. "That is a federal offense. Do you know who is sending them?" I was asked. "Sure," I snitched, it is those idiots at the IRS."I observed a new sign hanging above Gerard's desk which read, "The strongest human drive is not sex or greed. It is an IRS auditor's need to make his fellow human-beings squirm, sweat, and cry.""Those IRS guys certainly know what to give the man who has everything" began Gerard - "an audit. That is precisely why I am in business, to prevent this calamity from occurring. However, if you are audited, I will come to your house to feed your dog."Anyone who thinks the best things in life are free just hasn't been caught yet." Gerard continued. "There was a time when a fool and his money were soon parted. Now with the IRS it happens to everybody," he wisely pontificated."Gerard, can I take a 50 percent depreciation for myself because Gloria says I am only half the man I used to be?" I asked. "No," he answered, we must be careful. You may never know how well off you are, but the IRS does.""Do a good job, Gerard," I pleaded, "because I hate IRS audits. They make a federal case out of everything.""Don't worry," he said, "even President Bush has to file an income tax return." I can't imagine the IRS asking a president questions about his return. "Tell me, Mr. President, do you have any liability?" "Yes, I do," he'd answer, "the Congress!""No jokes," Gerard said, as he finished preparing my tax return and handed me the bill. Yikes, the only problem with having an accountant to save you money working on your tax returns is that their fees cost you more than they save you.However, before I forward my money to the IRS, I always send them a cover letter:"To my dear friends at the Internal Revenue Service: Hi! As I am sure you will immediately recognize that this is my usual cover letter. Everything is pretty much the same as it was in 2003, believe me, so don't look for any surprises. I still can't seem to make any money or enough to try out some loopholes - as if I could find any, anyway.I still live in the same house with the same wife and the same furniture. I haven't planted anything in the garden and I lost another azalea over the winter. You can routinely approve my tax return without the slightest concern that I am getting away with anything.I am very pleased that you have greatly simplified the latest tax form. I need only list (l) how much money I made last year, (2) subtract my expenses and (3) send you the balance.It also interests me that I have not the slightest idea where my money has gone. I write a check, send it to you in Andover, Mass., and that is that. I sometimes think if there were some way to let me know where the money went, I might be more willing to part with my pitiful savings. But, then again, when I read of money going to special interests that are of no particular interest to me, I am not so sure. Maybe I am better off in the dark.I have one further question. Could I have claimed the price of the tickets to the New York Giants's 2004 games last season as a catastrophic loss?That just about wraps it up for another year, fellas and gals. Good luck and please put my money to good use. Your humble taxpayer, Honest Alex Berger.Reach columnist Alex Berger by e-mail at email@example.com or call 718-229-0300, ext. 138.
©2005 Community News Group
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