“What we have here,” Marion Barry is supposed to have said, “is an egregemous miscarriagement of taxitude.” Which actually fairly represents my attitude toward the national tax system, the successful negotiation of which requires jumping through numerous hoops, not all of them properly round.
Of course, this does not exempt me from having to file, and in March I decided that the time to file would be the first weekend of April. The fact that said weekend begins on April Fool’s Day did not occur to me.
Anyway, I downloaded all the forms and instructions I expected to need, got halfway down Schedule A, and said loudly: “This is bullshit.” And so, after six years of sending in hard copy, I went back to online filing, which at least one firm would do for me for free provided I sent in my state return in the same session for $14.95.
I got through it in less than an hour, which surprised me. What didn’t surprise me (much) was discovering that the state would be collecting half of my Federal refund. I can’t remember the last time I actually got a refund from the state, and while I could easily look it up — I have all my returns for the last 40 years or so — I really don’t give enough of a damn. Besides which, you have to figure that a state in which almost everyone ends up in the top bracket and yet runs hundreds of millions of dollars in the hole is obviously Doing Something Wrong.
(I’m serious about that top-bracket stuff. For us forever-alone types, the top marginal rate, 5 percent, kicks in at a meager $7200 a year. Now that’s egregemous.)