Doing My Taxes Does Me In

Me after 10 minutes of working on my taxes

Finally! Here I am back from the dead! It’s been about 10 days since I last blogged, and for me that’s an eternity. So where have I been? Mainly just batting back the curveballs of everyday life—all of which I can’t wait to share with you very soon. But for now the key reason I’ve been MIA is because I’m refinancing my house AND filling out my son’s college FAFSA (the the free application for federal student aid which determines how much college financial assistance your kid can get). Which means I had to do my 2011 taxes, an exercise that ranks right up there with extracting abscessed teeth or having the shards of a Hummel figurine surgically removed from my left butt cheek after being shoved into a curio cabinet at a Frankie Goes to Hollywood house concert. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.)

Back in the old days when I had money, before I lost it all in the ’08 stock market crash (yet another story for another time), I used to employ expensive guys in cheap suits to do my taxes. This may seem like overkill, except that I had (and still have, just by the skin of my teeth) a production company that actually made enough money to employ people, including myself. In addition to being a stand-up comic I produced movies, commercials, indie films, shorts, features, industrial videos, just about everything that could be captured on film for profit EXCEPT for porn. Even I have my limits. (On a day when you really have nothing to do you can go check out my film credits on the Internet Movie Database, where you’ll see a cute picture of me in a short bob.)

To Save Money I Had a Monkey Do My Taxes

That’s about how much equity I have left

My company is an S-corp so I really did need help with my taxes when it came to balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and federal forms with alphabet soup handles like 1120s and K-1 (which I always thought was a personal lubricant, until someone informed me that it’s actually K-Y—right after I inappropriately made a joke about it at a fundraiser for the Utah Democratic Party).

So when the crash imploded my financial world, the entertainment and advertising industries took the first hit. My company tanked, I had to let everyone go, and suddenly I was in the business of being a one-woman show. One of the many hats I had to learn to wear was that of personal accountant who did my own taxes. Today the IRS thinks I’m funny NOT because they’ve seen my stand-up or read my books, but because they laugh uproariously every time they receive one of my quarterly 941 forms. Even with Quickbooks I’ve yet to fill out a 941 the same way twice, that’s how mercurial my income is these days.

So to get the monthly nut down I decided to refinance my house, which I haven’t done since Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac resolved to actually vet people before handing out loans. Just my luck they get serious about such things AFTER Wall Street took all my money.

Now this refi has me doing my corporate and personal taxes, both of which are so complicated that you have to be a rocket scientist to even get past line 10. And in my case I used to be a rocket scientist (yet another story for another time) and I STILL can’t really tell the difference between a tax credit and a deduction.

Good Taxes Gone Bad

For example, can somebody please tell me why Bernie Madoff can deduct all his legal fees, yet I can’t deduct the mounds of clothes I have to buy my kids per year because they outgrow everything faster than a weed emerging from a cement crack in a Walmart parking lot? Seriously? I have to be a dishonest billionaire before I can enjoy the benefits of all our magnificent tax loopholes?

And who was the genius that decided you get a tax break on medical expenses ONLY if said expenses for the year reaches into the thousands of dollars? Next time my son gets strep throat I’m going to tell him we’ll just have to wait until it turns into rheumatic fever before we can go to the doctor. Otherwise, according to the IRS his treatment is not as legitimate as that of the trophy wife who got a $10K boob job/tummy tuck just in time for her husband’s annual trip to the Caymans to do a load of laundry.

…compared to 12-sided Rubik’s Cube

As you can see accounting and taxes are not my passions. However, saving money is. So I’ve been spending every free moment for the last 10 days doing my own taxes and gathering ridiculous information for my mortgage broker so she can convince a lender that I’m not a risk if we lower my house payment…on a house I’ve lived in for the past 17 years, during which I’ve never ONCE missed or made a late payment.

The good news is I did FINALLY file my taxes (usually I wait until October 15th), my mortgage broker has everything she needs to convince some bank minion with a Darth Vadar complex that I’m not as much of a deadbeat as I appear, and after filling out my son’s college financial aid forms, it turns out I’m officially destitute, and thus my son is eligible for tuition assistance.

Damn, it’s been quite a week since we last chatted.

But now maybe life can get back to normal around here—whatever the hell normal is.

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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.

14 comments on Doing My Taxes Does Me In

  1. Dear Stacy, I caved in early. My first “Tax Man” was on a mission to deprive the government of the money they needed to prosecute wars (and kill lots of random souls). I said “what should I do if the IRS wants to talk with me about my lack of funds and outrageous deductions”. HE SAID: Just tell them that you live off of women. It seemed absurd, but it was only my false pride objecting. The fellow was a good man and I guess he figured ‘what could they do anyway’…HE HAD large numbers tattooed on his left arm. They looked sort of hand done. He knew lots more than I did. He knew that I lived off women.

    He passed and if there is a better place I am sure that he is there doing taxes and cheating the government out of their weapons money. I had to get a new tax preparation person wiki, wiki. I got this nice woman who said “if they ever call you don’t even talk to them. CALL ME! I really like to go down and talk money with them. “You have no worries”.

    Time passed as it has a tendency to do even when you want it to slow up a bit. I now am with her daughter for my tax return. YOU SHOULD TALK WITH HER. It just might save you from an audit and perhaps a stroke!

    Truly, eggsuckingpup

  2. Yes, Phillip, I know who you”re talking when you mention the woman who does your taxes, and she is THE BEST! She used to do my taxes, too, however, I felt guilty when I had to stop paying her. So now I do my own taxes and just call her when I get stuck–which is all the time. She ends up helping me a lot, but now I feel better about it because now I’m the one filling out the forms.

    As for the guy who used to do your taxes, the one with the numbers tattooed all over his arms, are you sure he’s dead? Maybe he only wants the government TO THINK he’s gone so that he can spend all the money he hoarded away. Or maybe he actually figured out a way to take it with him. Those guys never cease to amaze me with their ingenuity when it comes to swindling the government. 😉

  3. Oh my, I can almost feel your pain. Mind you, I have always been alright around figures, and being an employee with a very meager side income from interest and shares didn’t really make me sweat when I had to fill in my annual tax return. Which I did myself of course because I am stingy.

    This has, however, changed as we are about to start our own company but, bright as I am, I got married to a bean counter (otherwise known as accountant), so no probs 🙂 Unfortunately I can’t lend him to you because he is very busy at the moment. But then you are through for this year, so hallelujah! And I’m looking forward to the promised stories.

    1. You’re lucky you’re married to a numbers guy. I wasn’t . So I always had to hire numbers guys, until I ran out of money, which is why I’m doing it myself.

      Once you start your own company the accounting will get a little more complicated, but still manageable. I just hate that kind of stuff (bean counting) so I’m not as thorough as I probably should be–which can lead to problems down the road. Oh well. All my grumbling about it makes for great comedy. 😀

  4. It’s great that there’s honest, taxpaying Americans, such as yourself. If not, I’m afraid the Veteran’s Menstruation… oops.. Administration… would not be able to provide me my allottment of two blue pills a month in order to allow me to enjoy being human… twice a month… which is what their infinate wisdom deems appropriate for my mental wellness. So, in some way, you are personally contributing to my… extended… happiness. Thank you.

    1. Well, Doug, I’m so thrilled that my contributions to Uncle Sam go directly to helping you keep your spirits…um, up. I’m all for the government kicking in to make veterans’ lives more comfortable. (No joke intended, there.)

      So I don’t mind paying my taxes, I just hate the way we have to do it. Why does it have to be so complicated that it takes some geek with a bunch of letters after his name to do it EFFICIENTLY? It’s like a demented Easter egg hunt to find all the deductions you qualify for. Plus the fact that the rules change just about every year now.

      And since I’m on a rant here, NO ONE told me that getting your kid into college would be akin to filling out more paperwork that closing on a home loan for the Taj Majal. When I went to college I pretty much just filled out a one-page application about a month before I wanted to start and I was in. I paid the fees (which were nominal) the first week of school. NOW you have to submit financial records, collateral, and agree to a fully body scan to prove you’re not hiding money in any of your nether region cavities (okay, that last one is a stretch…barely).

      Can you tell I dislike paperwork, Doug? 😉

      1. At my age I just read that, nod like a bobblehead on the rear deck, been there, done that… and I appreciate knowing I can still wake up and know how to do paperwork… still have the physical dexterity to lift a hand… and still have the mental awareness of what I am doing the paperwork for. Trust me.. with age it gets better. The only problem is the time it takes to complete all the paperwork. And that’s just doing the paperwork required for bathroom use.

    1. I don’t mind paying my taxes as much as I mind the time I waste DOING my taxes. I wish I could deduct my hourly rate on my Schedule A. How cool would THAT be?

    1. I agree. Having an accountant do your taxes for you is the best way, as long as you have a person that you trust and is reasonably priced. I’m reasonably priced, but I’m not necessarily the best person for the job. Good thing I come free of charge. If I had to pay myself I’d be in a world of trouble. 😉

  5. Oh my, the idea of all those numbers and rules and secret codes makes my palms sweat just thinking about them! Poor you, having to go through all that nasty tax bid-ness. Please head to the nearest liquor store/bar/friend’s house and get hammered immediately. That’s what i would do if I were you.

    1. Wow, Missy! FINALLY some sage advice. Per your instructions I’m drunk as I write this and it’s Sunday morning. Thanks so much. I feel better already! 😉

  6. I hated tax returns too. I finally solved my problem by joining a militia group in Idaho. You can join us Stacy, if you’re not a government agent. We have a can of Beany Weenies with your name on it.

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