Thursday, April 14, 2011

Name's Tax. Tax Lawmaker.

It was a dark and stormy April 15. I had just hit the post office with my income tax return, using extra postage since it contained a palm-greasing Hickory Farms basket to keep me out of the audit loop. That’s when I saw him leaning against the streetlight. “The name’s Tax,” he said. “Tax Lawmaker. I find you more irresistible than the urge to pad untraceable cash donation deductions. Join me for a drink?"

I'd just met the man, yet a future of filing joint returns with him flashed before my eyes. "Indeed I will," I replied. Before I knew it we'd slipped into that new place on the corner of Federal and State. He bought us martinis and tucked the receipt into one of those mini-accordion files.

"You're a gorgeous dame," he said, and somehow I knew he'd caught me admiring his long form. I was never so glad I hadn't just stayed home and electronically filed with Turbo Tax.

"Thank you," I said. "I do use a full 15% of my depreciable home office space to stock beauty supplies." I paused. "I have to know, Tax, before we go any further. My heart's been broken. My net wages have been grossly adjusted. Are you different from the rest?"

Tax smiled and said, "I'd never be one to feed you a line. Especially not Line 40 or 40a. But stick with me. I'll shelter you, and your income, from any storm."

I was already feeling the impulse to let him directly deposit his refund into my account that very night. But I controlled myself. I needed to do the math on this one. Could a self-employed, unincorporated woman like myself possibly find happiness with a man whose favorite Saturday night activity would be record-keeping? A man who would bring me payment vouchers instead of flowers? A man who would be hunted down in cold blood for authoring the mysterious codes and statutes that bankrolled the Taxes of Evil? I wanted to write him anything but off. But I knew it wasn't meant to be.

"Tax," I said gently, "I need to exempt myself from this relationship, as much as I hate to withhold my affection. I beg for your tax forgiveness."

He pulled out his cell phone and called his accountant for advice. They talked for hours while I sat itemizing the reasons why maybe I should change my mind. Then suddenly, I saw the light--the light of the dawn of April 16th. I realized it would be another whole year before I'd venture out into the primeval mist, with my important documents in hand and that special kind of white-knuckled desperation you really need for attracting someone decent.

"Oh, Tax!" I cried out. "I take it all back. I want to make a life with you--the white picket fence, the dog, the dependents--everything!"

But it was too late; my single filing status was destined to remain the same. Obviously a man like that was never truly in my league, not to mention my tax bracket. Tax had stolen away, through the foggy dawn, and slipped back into his corner cubby at the IRS.