Friday, March 04, 2011

Creepy Does His Taxes (Sorta)


by James Jarvis
from Life With Creepy
2002

    My roommate can't understand why people pay H&R Block and those other tax preparing franchises so much money to do their taxes. He can't even figure out why anyone would be willing to pay ME $22 to do their taxes. It's easy, he says, takes him about half an hour. But when he heard that my refund would be direct deposited into my checking account ten to fifteen days after I filed my taxes electronically, he started hinting around for me to do his taxes.

    He had already figured out that his refund would be $512, he said, so all I'd have to do was punch in the numbers from his 5 W2 forms and email the thing in. Yes, you heard right, five W2s. Creepy had five different employers last year.

    So I 'punched in' the numbers from his W2s into my TurboTax software program and informed him that his $512 refund would be $902.

    "Nine hundred and two dollars?" he jumped up from his bed, "Why so much?" Creepy came over to my computer to look over my shoulder to see if he could figure out what I had figured wrong.

    "Earned Income Credit," I said, "You qualified for $390 worth of Earned Income Credit. Didn't you get that last year?"

    "Well, yeah, but not on the same check."

    "Whaddya mean, 'Not on the same check'?"

    My roommate looked at me wearily, like he was REALLY getting tired of having to explain things to a grown man like me.

    "You don't get Earned Income Credit on the same check as your income tax refund, for God's sake!"

    "Yes, you do."

    "No, you don't."

    "I always do," I said.

    "I never have," he said.

    "You got two checks last year?" I asked.

    "Of course!"

    "You filed one income tax return and they sent you two checks?"

    "Not at the same time. The second check, the Earned Income Credit check, takes another couple of months . . .you know, after they send me the refund I asked for and then send the adjustment letter."

    "Adjustment letter?"

    "Yeah, the letter I have to sign agreeing to the . . .uh . . .the adjustment thing. Then I get the Earned Income Credit check a few months later . . .just like every year!"

    "Oh, okay. I see. Well, I've got good news for you," I said, "THIS year you're going to get both checks in one lump sum in only a few weeks and you won't have to sign any adjustment letter."

    My roommate looked at me like a country bumpkin looks at a magician who has just made an elephant disappear. The bumpkin knows enough about the natural world to know that the elephant hadn't just vaporized. Somehow, the magician must've cheated. Creepy was trying to decide if my 'cheating' was going to get him in trouble with the IRS. I assured him it wouldn't.

    In case you didn't catch it, every year since forever my roommate has been just adding up the money he paid in federal income tax and asking for that exact amount back. Every year he's been doing his taxes wrong and every year the IRS, probably accustomed to Creepy's ways by now, recalculates his taxes and sends him an adjustment letter. All this adds months to my roommate's refund time.

    Creepy pondered the wonders of my tax software for a while, then asked, "I . . . uh, I don't owe you . . .uh, anything for this, do I?"

    I thought about my roommate hording his secret snacks from me and charging me half of the price for every can of oil and air freshener he buys for his car and said, "How about $22?"

    "Oh, James," he groaned as he popped back into his room, "don't . . .don't joke me."

    Cheap ingrate. Doesn't even want to reimburse me for the 9 pieces of paper it took to print his return out on my laser printer.
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