"I came here to drink milk and kick ass. And I've just finished my milk." - Moss, The IT Crowd

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tax Whimsy

This ditty was inspired by pondering the recondite nature of AMT in my car this afternoon, after spending too much time attempting to understand what my tax prep software was doing. (If you are not a CPA or a tax attorney, I do not recommend doing this, as it is likely to trigger an existential crisis.)

I do not like you, AMT;
How you compute is hard to see.
How much would we all have to pay
Just to make you go away?

Or, if you prefer, expressed as a haiku:

O, dear AMT,
How inscrutable you are.
And now my brain hurts.

If there is one characteristic of the U.S. income tax system that people can agree on regardless of political affiliation, surely it's that AMT is a hot flaming mess. Any tax form which includes instructions like the following makes me want to poke myself in the eyes with a sharp pencil: "First figure any ordinary income adjustment related to (3) above. Then, refigure Form 4684, Form 4797, and Schedule D for the AMT, if applicable, by taking into account any adjustments you made this year or in previous years that affect your basis or otherwise result in a different amount for the AMT."

I accept paying taxes as a necessity for the maintenance of civilized society. Asking people to read these forms, however, is just SADISTIC.

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