Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Taxman

Let me tell you how it will be,
There’s one for you, nineteen for me,
‘Cause I’m the Taxman
Yeah....I’m the Taxman
Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
‘Cause I’m the Taxman
Yeah...I’m the Taxman
Don’t ask me what I want it for
If you don’t want to pay some more
‘Cause I’m the Taxman
Yeah... I’m the Taxman...
(lyrics by The Beatles)

News item: Dick Cheney and his wife declared they made almost $9 million dollars last year and overpaid their taxes by so much that they will be receiving a refund of almost $2 million dollars (read about it here).

Aaaaaaaarrrggghhh. Taxes. This year, for a variety of reasons (none of them having to do with making money) I had to itemize. Itemize. I hate that word. It’s one of those words, if you say it aloud, over and over, it just becomes a sound, with no meaning. But I digress.

I did my taxes online, as usual, and, as required, submitted my return to the IRS to be accepted for filing so that I could actually file electronically. Also as required, I included my e-mail address, so that I could be formally notified when the IRS had accepted my return, yada yada yada, after which I could actually file it. I did all that on Friday.

On Monday morning I checked my e-mail, only to see that there was still no response from the IRS.

Because my COBRA health insurance is about to expire, I spent the next several hours on the web, reading scintillating information about the health insurance coverage that is available to those individuals in Texas who can answer "No" to these two questions that I’m quoting, verbatim, from something innocuously called a Health Questionnaire:

1) Do you or any person named on this application plan on participating in motor vehicle, boat or snowmobile racing; mountain climbing; bungee jumping, hang gliding or sky diving during this coverage?

I thought about this for a while. I don’t think that I’m planning on doing any of those things, however...in the past few years, these are some of the things that I have done:


  • gone white water rafting for a week in Idaho (and I prow rode some of those rapids!);
  • gone on a couple of cattle drives;
  • gone on a camel trek;
  • gone hiking in Big Bend (several times);
  • taken a Desert Survival Skills course in Big Bend, that involved roughing it in the desert (lots of rattlers, among other things) for a few days...

You get the idea...so I sort of hate to limit my options...

But then I realized...lucky me! I'm a spontaneous woman, and if I decide to engage in any of those verboten activities, for sure it’ll be a spur-of-the-moment thing, not pre-meditated...so I can honestly answer "No" to that question!

Btw, I can’t help but notice, they didn’t ask about Canopy Tours...I think that may be a sign that I should sign up for a Canopy Tour...hmmmmm...

OK, question No. 2: In the past 5 years, have you or any family member to be covered ever received any medical or surgical consultation, advice or treatment, including medication, for any of the following: heart or circulatory system disorder including heart attack or stroke; diabetes; cancer or tumors; disorder of the blood; mental or nervous conditions or disorders; alcoholism or alcohol abuse; drug abuse, addiction, or dependency?

How many people can honestly answer "No" to that question, for not only themselves, but their family members, I wonder? I can’t.

But for those who can...then, for a monthly premium equal to a sum that would feed approximately 68 small children in a third world country for a month (I actually did the math, based on stats at the Feed the Children website), you can be covered by health insurance, after which, should you ever have the misfortune to get ill and the cohungas to actually submit a claim, you will be subjected to what a friend of mine calls The Three D’s of the Insurance Industry: Deny, Delay, and Don’t Pay.

Just when I was getting depressed about all this, I realized I still hadn’t received an e-mail from the IRS, so I went onto the Turbotax website and clicked "Check the status of my return".

Mississippi one, Mississippi two...OK, a window appeared, but then, to my horror, I read: "The IRS has REJECTED your return...blah blah blah..."

It was not a good moment, and it was compounded by the fact that at first, I was unable to read the reason for the rejection. That part wasn’t visible on the screen, and for some reason there was no bar enabling me to scroll down to read it. I got around that by printing it out. I breathed a big sigh of relief when I realized it appears to be because Mike (who did his taxes weeks ago) had apparently claimed himself as a dependent when in fact he is still legally my dependent. I need to be able to claim him on my return, so I submitted a request for an extension, and with a little bit of luck, I’ll get this straightened out sometime this week, but...it’s gotten me to thinking about money, and more specifically, about making money.

I’m no genius, but I’m a bright woman, I know that. And yet, I have no talent for making money. What’s more, all of my friends are bright people, and yet most of them have no talent for making money, either. Part of it, I think (maybe a big part), is that none of us really cares about making money. Oh, we’d all like to have it, but not to the extent that it apparently requires to really make a ton of it. There’s a tv ad where this little kid, maybe 8 years old, is asked by his buddies if he’d like to come along with them to get a slurpee. "No", he says, "I’m saving for my retirement fund."

It’s a funny ad, unless you know someone like that. Of the people I know who’ve made a lot of money (not many, I admit), most have some variation of that view of the world. They’re aware of money in a way that I’ll probably never be, and maybe don’t want to be, because it seems to me that too often, they know the price of everything and the value of nothing...

And yet...I know this is an area in which I have much to learn. Maybe I need to start reading those Suze Ormond books that have been sitting on one of my bookshelves for a couple of years...

But first, I wanna do the Canopy Tour...

12 comments:

Lisa :-] said...

That's what I hate about our society...you can't not focus on making money. Not if you want to make sure you have the most basic of needs met--like medical care, or housing, or even food. Remember when employers actually paid for your insurance, and the insurance could actually be trusted to pay your medical expenses? Something that our parents never had to worry about now eats up ten percent (or more, if you actually have the misfortune to get sick...) of our budgets. It really can take the joy out of living...

emmapeelDallas said...

Yep, I remember that very well, but it's all changed, and for the worse. Having worked in a hospital for a little over 5 years, I'm no fan of hospital billing departments or of insurance companies. Interestingly, when I had indigent patients, I could always talk the shrinks into waving their fees, but the clinic would NEVER do that...and sometimes that meant that we couldn't treat a kid. There outta be laws against that...

dreaminglily said...

Ughhh I hate insurannnnce... They don't do anything. Ever. It's been six months since my dad got hit by a car (fender bender or I would have written about it) and they're still delaying it. Plus, you can't get into a doctor without insurance even if they're screwing you over but not paying you a damn thing. (Speaking from the experience with my doctor and all of mom's medical expenses.)

::sigh:: I'm having a 'I hate society' day today so ignore me. Things are making me have a really grim outlook on life.

~Lily

emmapeelDallas said...

You're preaching to the choir, honey. Remember, they're proud of the three D's: Deny, Delay & Don't Pay! Also, for supplemental insurance, like AFLAC...it's set up on a sort of pyramid scheme, so as long as you're paying premiums, part of your premium is a kick-back to the agent who signed you up...dunno if all insurance works like that, but I know that AFLAC does...and we wonder why the premiums are so high.

Tammy said...

I hate our health care system! Can you say "pre-exisiting" in private insurance. If your cobra runs out and you have an illness. You can't get coverage and your retirement puts you over poverty level. So no help from state. Grrrr

Sorry about tax hick-up :)

Love,
Tammy

TJ said...

Grrr you just pushed my buttons here. Taxes, still steaming mad. 30% and add another 15& self employment tax, oh we itemize but if you are honest ( and we are) that 45% ate us alive! Bastoids! Insurance...out of control..Then we have General Motors who are FORCING us to retired with barely 30 years service so they can afford payroll in China. I think the canopy adventure looks like a grand challenge. U go gurl, I will remain challenged here to hold my head above water lol! Those questions were actually hilarious..
thats so the smiles!
Hugs
TJ

Theresa Williams said...

Very funny! I just love your sense of humor!

Chris said...

So you now or plan to engage in space travel, give yourself a nuclear enema, or eat asbestos?



Chris
My Blog

G-Man said...

Doin' taxes give me no Satisfaction...

When I’m drivin’ in my car
And that man comes on the radio
And he’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination.
I can’t get no, oh no no no.
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say.

I can’t get no satisfaction!

TJ said...

Drive By Hello Chicka!
Love TJ

Jod{i} said...

Sucks for the Cheney's eh?

Insurance! Ugh....Now if thats is not legalize extortion! Hmmmph..
A definite no win for many
I hear ya!!!!

Peace

ChasingMoksha said...

I hate money and money grubbers. Maybe we can trade in salt, or better yet, wisdom.

Good luck on the next try.