By Shirley Ramsey
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Each April, it matters about which column the numbers fall into. Jerry’s first surgery for cataracts occurred in November and the other, December.
“How’re you seeing now?” friends say.
“Great. It’s just great. My insurance isn’t covering but one eye. However, I’m told I can get it back in April.”
His larger bill came in January.
“It won’t count this year,” Jerry’s tax consultant tells him. “You paid that in the new year. It won’t count until next April.”
“But I need both this year to meet the allowable. The surgeries were both last year, and if I count them separately, it won’t help me in either year.”
“It’s funny that bookkeepers never worry about April when billing late.”
One neighbor lady consults. She is paid well.
“Look at this,” Margie tells her husband. “I received more pay this time. They gave me a raise. How about that?” Her client agreed to take out taxes. They forgot.
Margie is told she has to pay the taxes on that consulting fee.
“Just pay and forget it,” her husband advises.
“That’s not the point. I have to pay late fees and a penalty. Had I realized at the time I owed it and paid in time, I wouldn’t owe the IRS even more.”
Being single, Charley needs bolstering in April. He decides to buy a cow as a deductible.
“This is neat,” Charley tells his girlfriend. “I just bought a Jersey cow for this young family in Africa. The nonprofit takes care of getting the cow to them with feed and such, and I get a deduction.”
“On the other hand, we could get married,” she coyly responds. “Just think of how that would increase your deductions?”
Wedding bells ring sometimes at this time of year.
Then another deduction or two will appear.
“But I didn’t plan on twins,” Myron tells his friend. “My wife and I are happy about it, but I’m worried. How can I take care of two at a time?”
His friend advises him, “Check with your financial adviser. Those little dividends will help at tax time.” Myron found out there is nothing like times two in April.
Perhaps counting begins with piles of stones. Each usually bears the weight of a sign, plus or minus.
Josh is just learning to count. His sister is helping him learn. “Here, Josh,” she tells him. “I subtract one cookie from your pile and then add it to my pile. Now can you remember those two words, ‘add’ and ‘subtract’?”
His sister may be on her way to becoming a financial adviser. Except, Josh isn’t convinced.
“Sure, I remember,” he says. “I s-s-subtract a cookie and then one more from your pile and I a-a-add two to mine. Right?”
Policy about changing the way Americans pay income tax pops up from time to time. Yet everyone paying the same taxes wouldn’t be nearly as exciting. It’s almost like Christmas in April to open the tax consultant’s brown envelope.
Shirley Ramsey, a retired professor of journalism, lives in Norman.
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