Tax time: You can't deduct that?Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Failing With Gusto
I have been blacklisted by the Tax Preparers of America. No CPA within a 50-mile radius wants to touch my taxes. It may have something to do with my inability to properly gather vital documentation in one place and at one time. My highly sophisticated method of filing includes stuffing receipts in drawers, glove compartments, and empty boxes of Quaker Granola Bars.
With the April 15 deadline looming, I finally called my dad. After all, the man worked for the IRS for most of his career. Surely he wouldn't turn me down?
Marianne: Hi Dad! I was wondering if you'd want to come over and help me figure out this whole tax returnie thing-a-ma-bobber.
Dad: What happened to the last CPA I referred you to?
Marianne: She won't call me back.
Dad: What about Joe's brother?
Marianne: He's apparently moved out of the country until April 16.
Dad: Doesn't your friend Lucy understand taxes?
Marianne: Yes, but she says understanding me is an entirely different matter.
Dad: Fine, but make sure you have some Scotch. And ICE.
My dad patiently walked me through entering all the information, but stopped to ask questions about my income. As I typed in earnings from "writing," I felt awesomely happy. I was totally a writer. Like Danielle Steel. But BETTER. So we poured a little Scotch to celebrate. That's when things started going south:
Marianne: Hey DAD! If I have income, can't I deduct things that assist me with my writing?
Dad: As long as you have receipts dated 2012.
Marianne: Here you go! (dumping out an entire Rice Krispies' box filled with receipts for RumChata, Baileys and Summer Shandy).
Dad: This is all alcohol, Marianne. You can't deduct this.
Marianne: But that's what I use to write. You know. Like liquid muses.
Dad: What about ink cartridges, paper, or research material? You can deduct those.
Marianne: Research material? Like People magazine? Because I get a LOT of story ideas from People magazine.
Dad: So no ink cartridge receipts, then?
Marianne: No, but I wrote an entire piece about Cocoa Puffs! Can we deduct the Cocoa Puffs?
Dad: I'm done.
The good news is my taxes are complete. The bad news is it took my dad an entire bottle of Scotch to get through them.
So now I'm left to wonder:
Is that bottle of Scotch tax deductible?