No taxation without representation: Gimme all your money!


Coffeecup calculations
Originally uploaded by
yaznotjaz.

A few weekends ago, I hit a milestone: Doing my taxes (almost) all on my own, for the very first time! How exciting, seriously. No, it was, I promise! But that’s only because I’m such a nerd, and I kinda like numbers when they’re related to how much money I made/have/never save. Clearly, I am my father’s daughter (except for the part where he color-coordinates his funkycool-designed and otherwise brilliant Excel spreadsheets. My Excel skills are subpar, in comparison).

On the Sunday before taxes were due, the daddy-o and I procrastinated together and put off our respective tax paperwork by driving around town. We hit up the flowers and gardening paraphernalia at Wal-Mart, YardBirds, RiteAid, and, finally, at Navlet’s nursery, where I gave up and opted to stay in the car.

The daddy-o shook his head and sighed, “You have no imagination, Yasminay.”

I bit my tongue, since I didn’t want imagination anyway; all the warmth was making me drowsy and I wanted to take a nap in the sunshine, dammit. So I ignored my lack of imagination and instead sank down in the passenger seat, closed my eyes, and soaked up the sun while he checked the plants and garden supplies at the nursery.

Next, we hit up the Afghan store for naan. My dad asked the same question he always asks the proprietor: “Don’t you have any Pukhtu music?” Nashahnaz just wasn’t cutting it, though. We consoled ourselves by eating nearly the entire hot naan on the way home, where the daddy-o finally buckled down and spent hours in unsuccessful attempts to submit his tax information to said CPA through her website, and finally emailed her with:

Attached worksheet has all the summaries for my 2005 tax return. I will also fax you approximately 15 pages of documents.

I spent an enormous amount of time entering data on the website, and failed miserably. I can accept part of the blame, but I think this website process is sick!!!

One question: Is Yasmine still considered my dependent?

Note those multiple (three!) exclamation points. Way to give someone a headache. Also, he meant “sick” like “disgustingly twisted,” not “sick” like “that’s the bomb, yo!” because we don’t talk about bombs on this blog. At least, I think we don’t. Right?

CPA’s reply:

Yasmine is still your dependent if she is still a student. If she is not a student and has made more than $3,000 in the last year then, no, she is not your dependent. Let us know.

Daddy-o’s email to me:

Here is your answer – translated in Hindko, it means that yes, you were my dependent in 2005 because you were in school.

So, I tackled my taxes, and wondered, Why is the CA resident income tax form longer and such a process, compared to the federal one? I would have thought it would be the other way around. Also, I had three different W-2 forms to go back and forth between. Thank you, deathly boring Sacramento job last year, you sure did increase my federal refund amount, and I am suitably grateful. (Although, quite ironically, it completely killed off the state refund. Stupid state job.)

I made several mind-numbing attempts at deciphering such basic but confusing mathematical equations like, “Subtract line 5 from line 4”; by the time I got to “If line 9 is larger than line 10, subtract line 10 from line 9. This is your refund,” I was damn well going to get it right. Because I like the idea of tax refunds. It makes me feel like the government is giving me money for no reason at all, and I love free money, even though it’s MY OWN MONEY, dammit.

Fun conversations:

Daddy, exasperatedly looking over my tax forms: “Yasmine! This one’s supposed to be a NEGATIVE number!”
Yasmine: Oh. Right. Just kidding, then.
[So much for my onetime calculus skills.]

Annoyed Yasmine: “Where’s the stupid worksheet they keep talking about?!”
Daddy: “On that second page you’re holding in your hand.”

Sister, curiously: “Are taxes as hard as everyone makes them out to be?”
Yasmine: “No, mine was hella easy. But maybe that’s because I’m single and I don’t own any houses or any of that stuff.”

We celebrated the thank-god-it’s-over end of tax season with ginger-flavored gelato. (It was pretty good, except for the chunks of candied ginger.) Made faces at the candied ginger. Tried strawberry cheesecake ice cream instead. Made more faces, because there weren’t any chunks of cheesecake, as I had been expecting. Blasphemous! Now I know what my tax refund won’t be going towards.

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