The Unfairness of the Tax Code

Although I couldn’t have cared less about the outcome of last night’s Super Bowl game (the Steelers weren’t in it and I didn’t hate either team that was playing), we did what we, and most of America does every year.  We hunkered down in front of the TV with lots of high-fat content tasty food and watched the Super Bowl commercials.

This morning I debated on whether to eat a slice of leftover Pizza Hut thin and crispy Super Supreme pizza or one of the delicious enchiladas that Oldest Son’s girlfriend had made for Saturday’s dinner.  I decided on the pizza, and planned on some enchiladas for lunch since there was almost a whole small casserole dish left and I was certain some would still be there at noon.

I busied myself with the week’s ironing upstairs, encouraging myself with the promise of a tasty lunch when I was done with that drudgery.  But when I came downstairs, my heart sank when I saw the empty casserole dish on the sink.  Noooooooo!

I knew immediately that Middle Son J had finished up the leftovers.  He always finishes the good leftovers.  I have learned to hide the good stuff (like in the fruit or veggie crisper–where they never look) when he’s around.  He’s usually back at college by now, but the damn blizzard of 2010 has shut everything down.  And emptied my fridge!

This weekend alone, he has not only scarfed up the good leftovers, but he has gone into my candy stash and raided my gummy bears, eaten almost the whole f-ing bag of Hershey kisses, and taken at least one bag of the beef jerky I like to keep as a snack at my desk when I’m back at work.  I can’t say for sure that he eats more than Youngest Son, but Youngest Son never comes home from school.  He’s right down the road but he’s so busy at college, that we only get to see him when his school actually shuts down for breaks.

This weekend while working on J’s taxes, I got to worrying.  The weekend before, I had done our own taxes and had claimed J as a dependent.  After all, he met all the tests when I figured our taxes.  Clearly, he is:

Our child:  check

A full-time student for at least a part of 5 months in 2009:  check

Under the age of 24:  check

U.S citizen/resident:  check (his service in Germany is considered a temporary absence)

Support:  clearly, we spend beau coups bucks on this kid

But then I decided to crunch the numbers a little more carefully with the little chart the IRS has to make sure we actually provided over 1/2 of J’s support.  According to the chart, we can only claim an allocated portion of the household expenses per person.  And we have to divide all these expenses equally between the people that live here.  So…it matters not that J eats 2/3 of the groceries, has the biggest bedroom, or takes more showers than the rest of us.  We are only allowed to figure in 1/5 of the household expenses as our support for him.  It also doesn’t matter that the money he spends for himself is on stupid shit that I would never buy–like tattoos, and super loud truck mufflers.  Those things are counted as what he spent on himself as support.

So far, the outcome is unclear.  I’m going to have to dig up actual receipts on what we and on what he actually spent last year.  It’s too close to take a guesstimate.  But in my heart, and in my empty deprived stomach, I feel like J is well-supported by us.

21 Responses to “The Unfairness of the Tax Code”

  1. 1 "J" February 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    hahha bull. im only “supported” by you 2 days a week if even haha

  2. 3 Cyndi February 8, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Only you could make a blog post about the tax code hilarious! I’m so frightened my boys are only 9 & 11 and already consume more food than I ever thought possible. And why DO they always finish off the good stuff?!

    • 4 les February 8, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      Start finding some good hiding places now! I’m already on my third candy stash hideout–they somehow sniff it out…

  3. 5 Shane February 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    way to go jason…way to go

  4. 7 lynette February 9, 2010 at 6:28 am

    okay, dr. serious now….

    you might want to check things out either way…. if he is receiving financial aid and you DON’T claim him as a dependent, it may have an impact on his ability to receive aid. also on medical insurance, if you are covering him he might no longer be eligible if he is not your dependent. in all seriousness, i would check with an accountant — if the numbers are that close.

    i can’t wait till my son starts eating real food 🙂

    • 8 Cyndi February 9, 2010 at 7:40 am

      Leslie is a tax accountant.

    • 9 les February 9, 2010 at 7:41 am

      if he isn’t a “dependent” per IRS rules–I can’t claim him as a dependent. Bottom line. I gotta amend my return, damn it!

      Funny, though, how his bank account grows while mine’s in the pooper!

    • 10 lynette February 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

      ah, i did not know that. i would never suggest not following the law — i am a rule-follower “extraordinaire”.

      just a suggestion, was all, but since you are a tax accountant, then you have already checked with one 🙂

      maybe you need to increase his rent 😉

    • 11 les February 9, 2010 at 8:40 am

      Like the shoemaker whose kids have no shoes, I would have much more diligently checked the vital facts of my clients before I pressed that little e-file button. Damn. I was just so excited to think I had finished my return!!

  5. 12 Dawn February 9, 2010 at 6:33 am

    Funny, I borrow money from my kids and eat their candy.

  6. 16 Consuella Banana Hammock February 9, 2010 at 9:23 am

    so i’m taking copious mommy notes….
    1. hide good leftovers in unfamiliar packaging.
    2. eat leftovers immediately if they can’t be hidden.
    3. hide your candy where they will never find it…oh wait they will so just buy and eats lots of candy everyday.

    thanks les. this is putting me on the right path early!

  7. 18 Tammy February 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    ahahahaha….this post and comments made me LAUGH, LAUGH, LAUGH..ahahhaha

  8. 20 robinaltman February 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Dooood! This should not be an issue in the winter. Cold weather essentially makes your garage a refrigerator, right? You can hide all food in the garage! I have a tupperware container full of chocolate cake waiting for me in the middle of an old tire, as we speak.

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