Monday, April 15, 2013

Why Size Doesn't Matter

Tax season fills me with dread. I do not have a good relationship with the IRS. It's a rocky relationship in which they often show a willful ignorance of my needs. Kind of like a friend with benefits, only they get all the benefits and I barely get a friendship. No matter how often I try and jump through their hoops, they never seem to be satisfied, and to add insult to injury, never give me any of the perks my friends boast about receiving. To give you an idea of how this abusive relationship works, let me relate how the IRS haunts the first four months of my year, like that ex you just can't quite get rid of. 

In January I decide that this year will be different. This year I will do my taxes early. I will meet them head on, catch them by surprise, and dispatch them so quickly they won't know what hit them. This admirable resolution is complicated by the fact that I don't get my tax form until the end of January. But that's okay. I now have a good reason to procrastinate. By the time I get my tax form, it is a national holiday, otherwise known as my birthday. February 5th, for anyone who would like to mark it down on their calendars. I do love presents. February is my month of birthday brunches, and birthday visits, and birthday presents, and birthday martinis, and birthday desserts. Taxes have no place in February. I spend the month doing all my favorite things with no restraints. I've had years to practice celebrating my birthday and now have it down to an art. By the time I reach fifty, I expect to so good at it that I will be able to devote three months to my annual celebration.

In March the pressure begins to heat up. April is in a few short weeks, and as the days lengthen, and my mother reminds me that taxes are due soon, I try to remember exactly where I stashed that little white envelope that holds the fate of my bank account in it. I begin to worry that perhaps I booked my flight home for Easter prematurely, because if the United States decides that I owe them an arm and a leg, then going home is suddenly a luxury. And this is usually the time when I begin to hear rumors of my friends' tax returns and how large they are.

I'd like to take this time to clear up one common misconception. Size doesn't matter with me. Just as I don't want to hear about your boyfriend's particulars, I don't want to hear about the size of your tax returns. It's almost as if you are bragging because you are tall, or happened to have had the enormously good fortune to be born into the Rothschild family, or that you're a more beloved American citizen than I am. So congratulations, you are obviously a better American, and now please have the goodness to shut up about it.

I finally finished my taxes this past weekend. I did them two weeks ago, but I wanted to wait until the weekend before April 15th so that I have a good chance of ruining the IRS's weekend by making them review and approve my tax documents. And then when it's over, I relax and know that I have roughly three hundred days before I begin to worry again.

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