It’s almost that time again. No – not the end of our New Year’s resolutions, although from the shrinking number of people visiting Anytime fitness, it’s that time too.
What I’m talking about is Tax Time. Everyone should soon be getting their W2’s or 4’s or whatever number they are and making appointments to visit their local friendly accountant.
I know all about tax time because I’m married to an accountant. You probably thought suspense writers were usually married to secret agents or tycoons, or at the very least, a foreigner wrongly accused of being a terrorist. But no – the best suspense writers are married to accountants, snowplow drivers, and grocery store managers. We have to do something to break the monotony, so we write.
People that aren’t married to accountants always think it would be great to have all that free tax information at their fingertips. Believe me, I don’t even have to use my fingers. He loves to tell me all the new rules, regulations, codes, forms, and conversations he has with IRS officials on the phone, without any probing whatsoever. The problem is, like with all free information, you tend to not remember any of it. And you don’t truly appreciate the gift you’ve been given. At least I don’t.
It’s not that I don’t want to understand, but that my brain is not wired to understand. I have what they call, Tax Law/Accounting phobia. Whenever I hear any of it, my brain freezes up, afraid that if any of this information is absorbed, I will automatically start speaking in abbreviations and get that sarcastic tone when I talk about people who think it’s okay to write off their Halloween costume as work-related attire because they wore it once to an office party.
Sometimes people ask me tax questions as though my being married to an accountant will make my answers legit. I could say anything and they’d believe me. Sure, you can get a refund for the money you spent on gas to drive 500 miles to pick up an old couch you bought on Craigslist for your home office naps. No problem. Can you reference me as your source of information? You betcha!
Accounting is an art form. One that I am not even close to understanding. Sort of like one of the art exhibits I saw recently at a university, where a young woman’s exhibit looked like the entrails of a cow slung across the floor and weird inner body parts hanging on the walls. Was I shocked? No. I’ve watched way too many episodes of CSI to even blink, but I just stood there wondering – Why?? Why go to all that trouble? Did it have a secret meaning? Was there actually something to learn from the ugly mess, or was it just her way of standing out from the crowd?
Okay, I just went down a really crazy rabbit trail. Or was that an entrails trail? Sorry.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t ask a fiction writer for tax information. We love to make things up, but the IRS frowns on creative tax returns. And a word of advice: take a voice recorder to your meeting with your accountant, cause, believe me, you won’t remember a word that he says.
Ps. This was written as a glowing tribute to my wonderful, hard-working, accountant husband who won’t see the light of day for another four months.