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Kirby: A few deductions about tax day

By Robert Kirby

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Apr 15 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Apr 15 2014 01:01 am

It’s a scary time. Caesar Augustus once again decrees that all the world shall be taxed. Everyone has to return to the cities of their birth to settle up. Again, there will be no room left at the Post Office.

If that isn’t disconcerting enough, a sign marking the occasion appeared in the heavens early this morning. A rare lunar eclipse confused many and scared the hell out of the some shepherds.

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Not to worry. Wednesday morning everyone gets frankincense and pajamas.

Or maybe that’s Christmas. I get it mixed up with Tax Day. One has bliss ninny carolers and the other choirs of the financially damned. Both days cost the same in terms of money and psychological trauma.

It’s probably Tax Day. Last week my wife — in an emotional state known in our home as "Be Damn Careful How You Answer" — demanded to know if I really charged $185.59 on a credit card for a barrel of military surplus mayonnaise?

Me: "Sonny said he would pay for half."

Her: "Where’s your wallet? Where is it right now?"

Did you know that a battered Lord Buxton, including a Burrito Barn punch card and spare handcuff key, will go through a document shredder? I didn’t either. You have to use a hammer, but it will.

The mayonnaise is a tax-deductible business expense. We needed lubricant for a wiener dog cannon we invented (and still hope will make us rich) and as such constituted a business expense.

Note: For lack of ammunition the gun has never been test fired. Let us know if you have any spare wiener dogs (or really long rats).

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Things will calm down when our taxes are filed tonight. Right now my wife is trying to reduce how much we owe the federal and state governments by figuring out deductions. Toward that end she wants the rest of my business expenses.

This is the scary part. I was supposed to keep track of everything I spent on business last year. And I did ... until about February, at which point I forgot to do it anymore.

Of the 112 expenses totaling $6,110, I possess actual receipts (three) for just $13.57.

In addition to the mayonnaise, I have to come up with the receipts for two traffic tickets, 11 boxes of Band-Aids, a pallet of new shingles, a vinyl album of "Fess Parker sings Daniel Boone," a Romanian army helmet, a bag of Popsicles and a harpoon missing its tip.

There’re a bunch of other things. I won’t bother mentioning them because some are embarrassing and, besides, you don’t know where the receipts are for them either. I’ll just keep looking.

Every year it’s like this. My wife files our taxes at the last minute hoping to find one more deduction to reduce the amount of money the government feels I owe them in order to remain out of prison.

There are normally two ways to file income taxes: standard deductions and itemized deductions. I don’t know the difference between the two. Left up to me, I would file under "imaginary deductions."

Being of sounder mind, my wife opts to do everything legally. That’s why I have to find the receipts in the next few hours. If I don’t I better hope there’s room at an inn somewhere.

Don’t forget to file your taxes by midnight.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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