By Victoria Mullen
Well, thanks to good ol’ Honest Abe, we have a couple of extra days to file tax returns this year.
As 99.9% of us already know, Tax Day is usually April 15, but because the date coincides with Emancipation Day—the Washington D.C. holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. capital—this year, we’ve been granted a reprieve, until April 18. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), D.C. holidays are considered federal holidays for tax-filing purposes.
OK, so, goody, we have a couple more days to do what we all loathe doing. I know of absolutely no one who likes to pay taxes. Perhaps that’s because there are way too many rich people and corporations who don’t pay their fair share.
I’ve always thought that the IRS could take at least some of the sting away if each person were allowed to designate where we wanted our tax dollars to go. You know, like a checklist included with the 1040 form—we’d each check off where our individual dollars would go: Defense, Medicaid, Congress’s salaries (ha!), etc. At least that way, we’d feel more invested in the process and would be truly represented. It just seems fairer to me.
Perhaps one saving grace is that we can (in some cases) take deductions. All well and good, but that list needs some serious revising to give everybody a chance to lower their taxes.
Herewith are my suggestions.
- Old meds. I don’t know about you, but there are times when I no longer have to take medication for whatever it was that ailed me because it ails me no more. So, there are numerous pill bottles in my medication drawer that are way past their expiration date. Seems such a waste. Sure, many communities offer “give back a pill day” (you know, return unused meds to a community center for disposal), but that doesn’t help reduce our taxes. Why can’t we claim a deduction for this?
- Bad luck. This one is a no-brainer. There’s enough bad luck to go around the world for ages and ages. Or miles and miles. Whatever. A deduction for bad luck would serve to lift up the citizenry of every economic stratus. To make it bona fide, the IRS could require proof of that broken mirror, black cat, cast on your leg, or whatever. Photos should suffice. Of course, there will always be people who will take advantage of a good thing and purposely jinx their lives by living with five black cats, but I’m sure they’ll be in the minority.
- Expired mayonnaise. Sure, you meant to use it. You had the best of intentions when you purchased it. You wanted to save money. It was a gallant effort, but you fell for that two-for-three jumbo con and purchased way more mayonnaise than you could ever hope to use in your lifetime. Did you save money? No. So there the jars sit, on your shelf, neglected, sad and lonely. I’d wager that they’re even dusty. Surely there should be a deduction for that.
- Fur, lint, fuzz, dust bunnies and the like. You know the routine: No matter how often you brush Fluffy or Fido that fur piles up. Same with lint: You can clean the dryer’s lint trap til you’re blue in the face, but there will always be more. Fuzz, too. The stuff breeds. If you don’t live with cats, you can’t possibly understand how upsetting this is. You’ll vacuum. You’ll put the vacuum away. And the minute you close the closet door and turn around—poof!—there it is, a clump of fur, right in the middle of the floor where you just vacuumed not two minutes before. Where was it hiding when you were vacuuming? Why did it wait until you were all done before making its appearance? The nasty little thing did it on purpose. This happens to millions of people daily, we suffer for it and we ought to be able to claim a deduction for it.
- Clothes hangers (on the floor). Seriously. Turn your back for a minute, and these things will multiply like rabbits. And they make you clumsy—even the plastic ones get tangled up. We ought to deduct something for each hanger that falls to the floor of its own volition. Because for each hanger that falls on the floor, there is a corresponding likelihood of throwing out your back trying to pick it up. A deduction could help pay for those back massages. Maybe we could add this to the Obamacare plan.
- Tasteful body art. It’s important to qualify this puppy because we all know the world is ugly enough as it is, and there is some seriously awful body art out there. A deduction for fabulous body art would be a great incentive for people to beautify themselves and, by extension, their surroundings. Maybe we could have the National Endowment for the Arts offer grants to fund the education of aspiring tattoo curators.
Have an idea for a tax deduction? Email me here at WKTV.