Thursday, July 7, 2011


Regular visitors to THE WANDERING TAX PRO know that there are a few distinct nouns that I constantly precede by a certain descriptive adjective or phrase. The noun and description are inseparable; they always have been, and always will be, joined together in my writings.

First there is the “GD extension”. And you know full well what GD stands for (not “government deferred” or even “gosh darned”).

I hate GD extensions! For the first half of my 40 tax-seasons in “the business” I did not have to deal with them at all - or at most two or three a year. But lately, especially since I “inherited” my mentor’s practice, and despite whatever I do to try to keep the number down, I always seem to end up with about 40.

As I have said in the past, it is difficult to explain to the “uninitiated” the fact that, after doing nothing but 1040s (and the state equivalents) 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week, for about three months, once I stop it is extremely difficult to motivate myself to look at another tax return. I find myself continually finding other stuff to do to avoid finishing the GD extensions.

I long for the days when the tax season truly ended on April 15th. I realize that there will always be GD extensions, but it is my goal to keep the number to at most a half-dozen (or less) really necessary ones.

And of course there is the “dreaded AMT” (for Alternative Minimum Tax).

What started in 1970 as an excellent example of the laziness of Congress (see below) - a quick fix to a highly publicized situation (an announcement by then Treasury Secretary Joseph Barr that 155 high-income households had taken advantage of the various deductions and loopholes available in the Tax Code at the time to totally avoid paying any federal income tax) – has grown into a true monster.

And, like the Frankenstein monster, it must be destroyed!

And finally - the “idiots in Congress”.

There are several adjectives and phrases that can be used to describe our elected officials in Washington (and elsewhere) – perhaps more today (and maybe the last 20 years) than at any other time in America’s history.

They are certainly self-absorbed. I suppose some degree of self-importance (although not quite at the level of a Donald Trump) is either a requirement for or a side-effect of becoming a politician. It is a known fact that the first and primary motivation and goal of any politician is getting re-elected, and not the proper administration of government.

They are obviously lazy, reacting to situations with the easiest quick and temporary fixes rather than responding to problems with serious thought and consideration.

They are incapable of independent thought, constantly quoting verbatim from the script written by their Party, and voting along strict Party lines.

And, along those lines, if a Democrat introduced a bill that would, for example, guarantee the end of our economic troubles for decades to come, Republicans will automatically vote against it for no other reason than the fact that it was not introduced by a Republican – even if they support the concept in the legislation. And vice-versa.

Perhaps the best way to sum up all of this, and more, in a proper description of the members of Congress, of all political affiliations and philosophies (“clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right” for sure), is to, as my British friends would say, “call a spade a shovel” and refer to them as idiots.

So when you read anything I have written, extensions will always be GD, the Alternative Minimum Tax will always be dreaded, and members of Congress, until they can prove themselves otherwise with any kind of intelligent or responsible action, will always be idiots.


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