Terror! Mayhem! Destruction!

Please be calm and sitting down when I tell you this: it is tax time again. 
Tax time can be an unnerving time for people, but fortunately, I enjoy a very close relationship with my accountant, even though (or maybe because?) she has never actually met me. I send someone else with the ‘files’ (shoebox full of papers with numbers) because of my seasonal sensitivity to accountants, but I always include a friendly note along the lines of, “Ack! Don’t tell me anything! Don’t ask me anything! Just make me owe nothing!” It is a reasonable request, and so far she has been pretty good at complying. 
Being a good and considerate citizen, I always have the shoe box dropped off early in the tax season, sometime in January, or, barring that, at least fifteen minutes before midnight on April 30, depending on unforeseen circumstances such as ‘getting around to it’.
My accountant is great, she is friendly, and is a miracle worker when it comes to doing taxes. Am I saying these nice things so that she will produce a perfect zero-balance on my taxes? Of course not! And by ‘of course not’ I mean ‘Hell yes!’
It is said that the definition of an accountant is someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand. There’s a lot of truth in that, but I had to wonder, could my accountant answer some really hard accountancy questions? And by ‘hard questions’, I mean questions that won’t in any way upset her to the point where she finds it necessary to ‘rework the numbers’, if you know what I mean. She is already twitchy enough about the shoe box.
So I asked her the following questions, questions that are of obvious concern to tax-paying citizens at this hair-raising time of year.
What is the most popular shoe box size/brand for bringing in receipts to an accountant? 
If the receipts are folded a bunch of times, is the effort to minimize appreciated?
Would paper airplane receipts be seen as frivolous? 
Can’t you just tell the government that the client really doesn’t owe a dime? Please?
Can you accommodate a client who owes thousands of dollars in taxes and wants you to fix it so she doesn’t owe anything at all (and by ‘client’ I am in no way referring to myself)?
Do you provide boxes of Kleenex for numerically-allergic or sensitive people? What brand?
What happens to people who are late filing their taxes? Are they ever seen alive again?
If an accountant (for example, someone like you) were to receive flowers and chocolates every day throughout April, would the client (for example, someone like me) receive a better tax break?
Can you rework the figures for a client (and once again, I am not referring to myself here) so that said client is suddenly filthy rich yet not owing any taxes? 
What are some good write-offs? For example, I’m thinking that everything I own and every place I go is pretty much deductible because I might conceivably write about it one day in this lifetime. Or next, depending on the weather.
Sad to say, my accountant, probably feeling miffed about the origami receipts, only had time to answer the last question.
“Wow that’s a pretty open-ended question, Jo. Let’s use you as an example: I would probably say that if you and Jim run off to Paris for a romantic getaway, and you may perhaps write an article about your adventures when you get back, the trip would not be deductible. However, if you drive to a local bird sanctuary to write about the mating rituals of ducks, and you and Jim (or Pierre, who you met in Paris) just happen to have a picnic when you’re there, then I would say you could write off the gas you used to drive there. Oh, and don’t forget to deduct the shrink sessions (a qualifying medical expense) that you and Jim have to go through after he finds out about Pierre.”
Oh those crazy accountants, who says they don’t have wicked senses of humour. Why, even Pierre laughed when I told him.

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About the Author

This bio was written by Jo Slade. As you can see she has written about herself in the third person. What normal person would do that? They just wouldn't. Who knows how many other persons might be involved in this thing, a second person? Another third? I worry about it. I - she - we - can't even keep it straight, this paragraph is a damn mess, there are persons all over the place. Round 'em up and shoot 'em. That's what I'd do, and by golly I think that's what Jo Slade would do as well.

Biographic nutshell: Jo has been messing around with words for a long time. Sometimes she'll just say words instead of writing them, it saves on paper.

The columns that appear here are of a highly serious and scholarly nature, therefore it is advised that you keep a dictionary and ponderous thoughts nearby.

If, after reading so many thought-provoking words, you find yourself tossing and turning at night, burning with the need to email me, just do it. I answer to [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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