Taxpayer blues deflate plans for warm vacation
I’ve got the taxpayer blues. Yes, this in spite of the fact President Bush promised all of us in America – and that is where we live, right? – great returns on our capital investment savings scams. Money in our pockets. Money to infuse back into the American economy.Alas, we’ve been duped.My husband and I have been saving our pennies all year long, hoping we’d be able to take a mini-vacation to somewhere where the sun shines all day, where the wind blows gently across the land, somewhere far, far away – like Limon.For those unfamiliar with Colorado, Limon is almost as far east on the Eastern plains one can drive before falling off the face of the Earth into Kansas. We don’t know anyone in Limon and don’t have any particular reason to go there – except we figure that, at $1.69 a gallon, that’s all we can afford. Besides, we hear they have clean gas station restrooms.But thanks to the tax man, we can’t even go to Limon.Not after we “paid our dues” as American citizens.Not after we “robbed Peter to pay Paul.”Not after the IRS got a hold of our ankles and shook us upside down until all our change fell out of our pockets.I’m not sure why this comes as such a surprise to us, but every April 15, at about 11:59 p.m., it dawns on us that no matter how many cats and houseplants we claim as deductions, we still owe the government money!We used to have a simple solution to our tax-day woes. We threw all our tax documents against the wall, and whichever ones stuck, we used for our federal tax forms. If the cat slept on one overnight, we’d use that for the state.Then, friends told us about the ease of using the infinite skills of a “tax return specialist.”This person, they said, would take all the documents, put them in a “document cruncher,” “churn out” a few other “tax-related numbers” and determine how much “money” we were due. After all, isn’t that what all the ads promise? That the government owes you money? Now?Not in our case. The “specialist” “crunched” the “documents” and “churned out” a few “tax-related numbers,” one of which was larger than the other. The smaller fee went to the government to pay for asphalt and war; the larger number was the “specialist’s” “fee.” Nowhere did we see money in our pocket to infuse into the American economy.We have done our own taxes ever since – not that it saves us any money, time or stress. In fact, it probably costs us more money, assuredly takes more time and most definitively creates lots of stress.I’ll never forget April 15, 1987, when we were poorer than we are now and owed $75 to the federal government. Today, I laugh at $75. Haha! I say. Today, I’d love to pay $75. But the cost of asphalt and war has increased, and they’ve passed those increases on to us, the lowly American taxpayers without a major appliance, such as a yacht, in which they can hide until April 16.This year, our debt almost hit $1,000. I don’t laugh at $1,000. One thousand beans is the difference between Breckenridge and, say, Belize.One thousand buckaroos can buy me the major car repair of my choice. A single grand can get us farther than Limon, albeit, not much farther.But no! The taxman cometh, and the taxman taketh away. We paid our taxes at 11:59 p.m. and re-evaluated our vacation plans.This year, we’re headed to Burlington. Ever heard of it? Neither have we. But we hear they have great views of Kansas. And we need to do our duty as Americans and infuse our pocket lint into the American economy.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. H&R Block will be calling any day now.
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