Love and Taxes

Despite what you might think, doing taxes together is not a good means of drawing close to your spouse.

I can see how one might expect otherwise, that it could foster a “You and me versus the World” mentality, or simply give occasion for one spouse, say the one who doesn’t have to get up at five every morning and schlep ninety minutes to work, to recognize what a great provider the other spouse is, and perhaps give him a congratulatory back rub.

Not so much.

Tax time in our house is like one of those frantic side scenes in disaster movies like “Titanic” and “The Towering Inferno,” only punctuated with titles of arcane government forms.

“It says we need the 8385-B, ‘Reconciliation of overcontributions to retirement and pension funds.’ Where are we supposed to get that?”

“What the hell is an overcontribution? That sounds like a made-up word, like ‘pre-boarding,’ or ‘impacting.’ It doesn’t even make sense.”

“It means we contributed too much. What does the I-943 form say, on line 238?”

“It says 43 cents.”

“No, you’re looking at SI-942. I’m talking about I-943.”

“Well how the hell did our *%#$!*! S-forms get mixed in with our federal forms?”

“I don’t see any need for you to take the Lord’s name in vain like that.”

“In vain? In vain? It’s not in vain. I earnestly, truly want him to manifest himself right now, in all his righteous splendor, and smite Caesar and all his minions with their petty rules and hellish forms! Oh no, sister, it’s not in vain at all!”

“I don’t think raising your voice will help matters.”

“Fine. While you’re digging in that pile, can you find me the 6243-7211B subsection-S form again? I think I filled in a number from the wrong line. Sorry.”

“Sweet holy mother of God!”

“Look, if I can’t call on the Savior, then you’re not allowed to call on his mother.”

“Make me a pitcher of frozen margaritas right now, or I’m filing for divorce.”

Somehow we survived, and even got our sorry, unreliable new Epson printer, which is rivaled in its undependability only by the thoroughly unsatisfactory customer service of it manufacturer, to print the forms in mostly readable fashion. (Note to Epson: I’ll be glad to amend this comment, which Google should do a nice job of picking up, especially when I include phrases like “review of Epson” and “Epson customer service,” once you people stop sending me sorry refurbs as replacements for the brand new printer that never worked in the first place, and actually provide a workable return label so we don’t make fruitless trips to the FedEx office in an effort to return your third-rate merchandise).

I like to think my wife and I are stronger for the ordeal, but I’m glad the exercise only comes once a year. I feel the IRS pushing me to a point of bifurcation — either I will simplify my life to the point that I have only one small form to fill out, or I will assemble enough wealth that I can afford a legion of accountants and lawyers to battle forms on my behalf. As in most things, the middle ground stinks.

On a lighter note, Eli is picking up a little French.

“Daddy, do you know what ‘bon appetit’ means?”

“No, Eli, what does it mean?”

“It means ‘have a nice eating.'”

He’s such a cute little tax deduction boy.


  1. Gray

    You know if you had purchased your printer from a ‘Value Added Reseller’, such as my self, then you would have personal service for returns, and then perhaps I could have over contributed to my retirment plan.

    Anyway I hate taxes and it was nice to be able to laugh at another loyal patrioit doing the inevidable.

    Hope all is well with the family, we are all healthy, happy and cash strapped until May 15. Thanks to good ‘ol Uncle Sam.

  2. Lucy

    Bwahahahaha. I suppose I shouldn’t laugh at the crazy person who bought something-that-isnt-an-HP.

    My husband gives me grief about brand-preference, assuring me that many non-HP brands produce lovely products. I assure him that its in his best interest to get me a product that is related to HP Customer Service. Those people are amazing!

  3. Paul

    That “no income tax, 23-percent sales tax” plan is starting to look good. We somehow get away with only doing a couple forms, and TurboTax sure does a nice job walking us through it.

    As for HP, they seem to do alright. My last experience with them involved two calls that I am positive were forwarded to India (a common practice now, as labor is much cheaper there), which wouldn’t be so bad if the first person I spoke with knew passable English. The second person, a female who was obviously higher up on the technical food-chain, was very good. I still have a product that doesn’t work completely (I was left with the “well, we don’t know what’s wrong, so we’ll leave the ticket open and let you know if we think of something” — sure you will).

    Thanks for another light-hearted start to my long day, Tony. 🙂

  4. MarcV

    Whew, sounds like a taxing experience. Good thing you didn’t lose your faith.

    You may want to avoid hanging wallpaper together. That has been known to put marriages to the test.

  5. wife

    I never say such things.

    Wait, that’s not completely true. I do occasionally offer a well timed “sh**”. Oh yeah, and then there is the infrequent “a**hole” expletive toward the author, when said expletive seems appropriately true and I am hoppin’ mad.

    So I’m not perfect.

    But my prideful nature insists that the number of my imperfections be limited to the truthful ones. I take that back, let’s don’t tell those either.

  6. cooper

    How’d somebody record us, then send you the DVD?

    I always wear black on the 15th of April. And the printer mishap. That’s part of the drill.

  7. Management


    To: Wife

    From: SitG Management

    Re: Recent complaint of alleged inaccuracies in the story titled “Love and Taxes”

    Thank you for your recent note above. Here at Sand in the Gears, unlike, say the Epson corporation, we take all customer complaints seriously. Unfortunately, your complaint does not follow our established protocols, and so I have to ask you to resubmit accordingly.

    Specifically, all complaints must be submitted to the writer in person, while wearing either a cheerleader outfit or nothing but cowgirl boots, and while carrying a plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Thank you for your cooperation, and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,

    The Management

  8. wife

    Hah, You’re a hoot.

    I don’t own any cowboy boots, or cowgirl, is there a difference? In the boots I mean.

    Thanks for the “i”.

  9. Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady

    I did our taxes alone for a number of years, primarily because my husband’s eyes tend to glaze over when he tries to “help” me. I was not fit for human company between mid-March and “T” day and as a matter of self-preservation, my family learned to find lots and lots of errands to run from about April 12 until our tax forms hit the mailbox. A couple of years ago, I broke down and turned it all over to a CPA acquaintance — the greatly reduced stress levels seemed well worth the few hundred dollars it cost to have him do it.

    Now, however, I wonder if asking Nick to wear a cheerleader outfit and feed me chocolate chip cookies would have been a more effective — and less expensive — stress reducer. Hmmm…..

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