Help! I’ve been hoodwinked

By Mel Grossman

Yes, I think I really have. And probably hornswoggled too! If that’s more than you can handle, how about something simpler: Misled, bilked, victimized, defrauded, bamboozled, swindled, fooled, hoaxed, fleeced, burned, scammed, screwed, cheated, faked, tricked, conned. I’ll take “bamboozled.” By whom, you

ask? Take a guess. He wears a tall top hat and he’s dressed in a red, white and blue costume.

I was so excited about what he promised me last year. I’d even embalmed my tired little calculator in bubble-wrap and put it in

the safe deposit box for my great grand-children to find some day. “Come tax time next year, your life will be simpler. Far simpler,” he told me. “You are just gonna love it!” It rang with truth. This was no “you can keep your doctor” promise. This was one made by my own dear sweet Uncle himself. You could take this one to the bank! Along with your refund. “So simple,” he told me. “You’ll just love doing your federal taxes on a postcard!”

Yep. I bought it hook, line and sinker. Fact is, I was planning to wait until April 14 to fill out my simple, little “postcard” tax return. Maybe as late as 11:30 p.m. I’d fill in the blanks, sign, seal, stick a stamp on it, drive to the post office, and drop it in the box. In fact, I even called my tax accountant, who’s been doing my returns for half-a-century, and told him to go fly a kite. “Don’t need you no more,” I chuckled. Until he chuckled back: “Wait til you see what you attach to the postcard! That ain’t no kite tail.”

I may have deep-sixed my calculator, but I do have a computer. So I quickly fired it up and googled: “2018 Postcard Tax Form.” Well, well, I murmured with a smile, as I looked over Side One of the postcard that popped up on the computer screen. Now that’s my type of return, Hmmm. Looks like just a shorter version of the same thing I’ve filled out for the past 50 years. Name, address, spouse, dependents, sign here. Yep. Piece a cake! I wonder what’s on Side Two? Reminding me of the rookie Roman slave standing on the dock looking at the Emperor’s majestic barge with its many oars sticking out of the sides: “What a beautiful water craft! What makes it go?”

Uh, oh. Also looks like the same stuff I’ve filled out for the last half-century, all squished on to a postcard. Wow! Could it be? I’ll just check out the fine print. Whoops and howdy doo. “Add any amount from Schedule 1, line 22.” Hmmm. Maybe the proof-reader forgot to delete that from last year’s form. Nope. Here’s another one: “Standard deduction or itemized deductions (from Schedule A)” … and no, no, here’s another: “Add any amount from Schedule 2.” Don’t like the looks of this at all.

Nervously, I snatched up the phone in mid-google and called my “former” accountant. “Sorry, he’s not available right now. He’s down in the basement building a kite. Can I help you?” “Well maybe,” I said. “I’ve just been looking at my new 1040 Postcard Tax Form on the internet and it says there are schedules to be filled

out. I thought I just had to fill out a postcard?” With a pleasant little giggle, Mrs. Kite Maker replied: “Did you not read the line: ‘If your return is more complicated you will need to complete one or more of the new numbered schedules’?” Nope. “Well, the kite maker just yelled up from the basement ‘tell him he’s more complicated.’ Get it?”

Oh, boy do I ever get it. There is no doubt now. I am one hundred percent sure I have been misled, bilked, victimized, defrauded, swindled, fooled, hoaxed, fleeced, burned, scammed, screwed, cheated, faked, tricked, and conned! Actually, come to think of it, I’ve been absolutely hood-winked, hornswoggled, and definitely bamboozled too! “Tell the kite maker to come up from the basement,” said I. “He’s got some complicated tax work to do.”

Editor’s Note: Nor did Mr. Grossman’s red, white and blue Uncle tell him that beginning this year, he can no longer deduct the cost of the “kite maker’s” tax return preparation. Wait til he sees that!

By Mel Grossman

Mel Grossman is a local resident and guest columnist.

Mel Grossman is a local resident and guest columnist.