Column: More reminders of why tax time and Crandall don’t mix

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 23, 2003

My neighbor Crandall stops by. He looks as though he has had another near-life experience.

&uot;How are you doing?&uot; I say.

&uot;Did you hear about my good luck?&uot;

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&uot;Me neither. I woke up this morning to the smell of coffee brewing and bacon frying. I fell asleep in the cafe again. Then I tripped over my cordless phone. I have Alaskan indigestion from eating too much frozen food and I have to start acting my tax bracket. I feel like a pound of liver at a cat show. There is a slim chance that I may be dreaming. I’ll cling to that.&uot;

&uot;Paid your taxes, eh?&uot;

&uot;Did I ever,&uot; says my neighbor. &uot;It is no coincidence that the two words ‘the’ and ‘IRS’ spells ‘theirs.’ The IRS needs to realize that it can’t saw the same board every day. I have discovered that the only thing I am able to raise on my farm is taxes. I think a reasonable system of taxation should be based on the idea of soaking the rich.&uot;

&uot;That is pretty profound,&uot; I reply, &uot;from someone who believes that all true wisdom is found on T-shirts. Mark Twain once said that the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector is that the taxidermist takes only your skin.&uot;

&uot;Thanks for painting me a picture, Picasso. I think that if we were meant to pay income taxes, we would have been made smart enough to prepare a tax return. If I file my income tax incorrectly, I’ll go to jail and if I file it correctly, I will go to the poor house. A fine is a tax for doing something wrong and a tax is a fine for doing something right. My problem is that I have a net income and gross habits. I could file my tax forms 100 different ways and they would all be wrong. I had to go to Lou Pole to have my taxes done. Don’t ever go to Lou Pole to have your taxes done.&uot;

&uot;Why not? He’s a CPA.&uot;

&uot;That’s true, but in his case, the CPA stands for ‘Chartered Pathetic Accountant.’ He left such a gap in my pocket that I will have to lay off one of the hands on my watch. He was like a vulture on roadkill. I am not a client to him; I’m a boat payment. IRS auditors have their own parking spot right outside his office. Lou wouldn’t even let me write off all of the money I’ve lost playing Monopoly. I don’t think he is the sharpest knife in the drawer. I heard that he pulled a muscle trying to blow a bubble with Dentyne gum. This year, he did my return on an Etch-A-Sketch.&uot;

&uot;Yes, but he has branched out into other businesses, so now you can rent a video, order a pizza or have the oil changed on your pickup while you are there. Besides, Lou Pole has strong math skills and I have read that one in 12 returns have math errors. Einstein said that the most difficult thing to understand is the income tax. This is the greatest country in the world and we all should feel privileged to be able to pay taxes.&uot;

&uot;I suppose you like taxes?&uot; asks Crandall.

&uot;I complain. We have to. People who complain about paying taxes can be divided into two kinds of people &045; men and women. I think that the poll tax is the fairest tax.&uot;

&uot;The poll tax? The poll tax was repealed years ago.&uot;

&uot;I know. That’s what I like about it. Ben Franklin said, ‘Our constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.’ Taxes are a good thing. There is nothing wrong with the younger generation that becoming taxpayers won’t cure.&uot;

&uot;Yeah? I have always heard that the best things in life are free, but I believe that the government has found a way to tax them. Ask not what your country can do for you, but how much it’s going to cost you for them to do it. Ever wonder why the IRS calls it Form 1040? That’s because for every $50 you make, you get $10 and they get $40. I wanted to deduct the cost of my daughter’s wedding as a casualty loss. After all, the guy she married is a real loser.&uot;

&uot;Well, I just hope that you paid your taxes with a smile?&uot;

&uot;Oh, I tried,&uot; says Crandall, &uot;but they wanted money.&uot;

Hartland resident Al Batt writes columns for the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the Tribune.