1040 for dummies

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 15, 2005

Late last week, an unwelcome visitor entered my humble abode.

After a long day at work, I was hoping to go home, unwind and relax until bedtime. That sounded like a pretty good plan until I encountered the horror of all horrors.

There on the dining room table, mixed in with the day’s mail, sat the monster – the 2004 IRS Form 1040. Yee-gads; is it already that time of the year again?

I never got within striking distance of this menacing pile of paper. Just the thought of its pages, complete with vaguely worded questions, begs you to make a mistake. The IRS loves its intimidating presence. They want us to become so confused that we forget to – or are too frightened – to report a legitimate deduction, therefore causing the taxpayer to lose out on a few bucks that could make a difference in the return.

With that in mind, and as a public service for the readers of this column, I am re-publishing my own tax form – one I’ve named the &uot;1040FD&uot; (for dummies). Hope you enjoy.

Please print: full name; last name; second to last initial.

Address: (note, if address is greater than the amount shown on line 19 and is less than $6,400 but more than $18,400, subtract line 19 from line 20 and add $4,400. If line 19 is less than line 17, but not more than line 18, add back line 19 from Form 1080-D, version 3. That number is found on your 1992 tax form 1130-Q. (You do still have that form, right?)

Please answer: Height; Weight; Sex (yes, no, occasionally).

Do you wish to designate $3 to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund even though we seem to have trouble electing presidents (see the 2000 election). Does your wife wish to contribute? Your mistress? Your children (by either your wife or your mistress)? Your pets?

The following information is requested by the FBI: Have you ever seen a UFO? Have you ever been taken aboard a UFO? Do you live in a trailer park?

The following information is requested by the Department of Agriculture: do you own any talking chickens? If yes, what are their names?

General requested information: Do you live within two miles of a decent pizza joint? When was the last time you had your tires rotated? Do you weigh more than last year’s tax form?

Filing Status: (1) Single – Double – Triple – Homerun. (2) Married, filing a single joint return (even if spouse is married separately). (3) Jointly married or singly separate. (4) Head of Household filing a separate, but joint return. (5) Head of the joint. (6) Deceased, but filing a posthumous return.

Exemptions: (1) You. (2) Yourself. (3) I. (4) Spouse (in California and/or New York, this may be a person of the same sex). (5) Number of dependant children living with you; living with someone else; wish they were living with someone else. (6) Anyone entering your home that either, (a) uses your washer/dryer; (b) sleeps in your bed; or (c) raids your refrigerator. (7) A worthless neighbor that has forgotten they have their own home.

Total Confusion: add lines 6E and 6F and divided by Line 6G; fold in eggs and beat until firm.

Please enter Wages, Salaries, Tips, Extortion money. Please enter the money you made on the side in order to make ends meet (greater than $40 or 10 percent less than total amount listed on line 19).

Please enter gross miscalculation of what you really should have paid the IRS last year because you read, or understood, only 25 percent of the instructions.

What about all that cash you stuffed in a mayonnaise jar and buried under the kids swing set in the backyard. (You thought we forgot about that, didn’t you?)

Add all the above lines and multiply by two – this is your total income.

Enter total deductions from above (Note: if this number is greater than zero, please enter zero because we will not allow any deductions).

Subtract from last line entered – this is your taxable income, which we hope is a lot so we can collect the most tax money we can in order for the Pentagon to purchase $3,500 commodes and $1,500 hammers.

Note: Can the IRS squeeze blood from a turnip – Yes or No. If you answered no, then you really are stupid.

Now for the good stuff: Using the Tax Table, the Tax Rate Schedule, Line 432 on Schedule B, Part II, section R2 or R2D2, figure your 2004 tax and enter that amount on Line 21.

On line 23, enter the amount of Federal Income Tax we stole (oops, we mean deducted) from your salary.

If Line 23 is larger than Line 21, you made a huge mistake. Please refigure your taxes.

When you get to the point where Line 21 is larger than Line 23, subtract the difference, add the shirt off your back and mail it all to us. We would include a postage-free return envelope, but the Pentagon has placed a purchase order for a new set of Phillips screwdrivers.

Thank-you and have a nice day.