THE SONIC BOOMER
It’s tax time again, at least for me.
I celebrate the beginning of each year by cleaning up my files and organizing my thoughts. So, naturally, that includes tossing out most of 2018. When I look down into those pristine clean file drawers and empty receipt boxes, I smile. When I look up at the teetering pile behind me on the table, I frown.
But I dig in. I separate all the receipts for my electric bills, phone bills, car maintenance bills, insurance bills, etc., and staple them together with a sticky note on top stating the total of what I have paid for each. Then I hand them proudly to my husband Mark, who seems to delight in telling me that most of this stuff is not tax deductible, but that I can hang onto it, “If you think you might need it for something.” I hang onto it, just in case.
We go through this every year. I organize stuff, he dismisses it. It’s a little game we play. Once in a blue moon, he will be looking for some receipt or other, and I will have it — because I have hung onto them all.
To his credit, he does this not only for us personally, but for my business, complicated this year by the fact that we added an out-of-state location in Missouri.
On Jan. 10, he called the State of Missouri because he wanted to pay the last quarter of our sales taxes (October, November and December) and was having trouble doing so online.
“That’s because you have already paid those taxes,” the state employee snipped.
“Great!” I whispered fiercely in Mark’s other ear. “Hang up!”
But Mark wouldn’t hang up. He has to get to the bottom of everything.
“When did I pay them?” he asked, flipping through our checkbook.
“Oct. 10,” was the reply.
“Oct. 10?” Mark repeated. “How could that be? We hadn’t even collected the sales tax yet! November and December were weeks away. How would I have known what to pay you?”
“Hang up!” I whispered again, dancing from foot to foot. “We’re good!”
“And, by the way,” the state employee added. “You’re getting a late fee for the third quarter.”
“For not paying your taxes!” he huffed.
Mark took a deep breath. “I did pay my taxes, but it sounds like you entered them for the fourth quarter, not the third.”
There was silence on the other end of the line. “You’re going to have to prove that to us,” came the reply.
Of course we will. Because no one ever owns up to making a mistake anymore. No one is ever responsible for a goof-up. This is the result of giving every crummy soccer player a trophy.
It cost us $25 in copies, gas and signature-plus-return-receipt-required postage, but we sent in all our proof. Eventually, we will be able to pay the fourth quarter taxes online, hopefully before incurring a late fee.
But I want my $25 back. Is it tax deductible? I don’t know.
And I can’t call, because the IRS has been furloughed while our elected leaders try to get their acts together. Who’s to blame for that? Nobody, of course.
Most importantly, does this mean that “The Little Guy” will get a tax extension past April 15?
It does not.
And don’t make me laugh.