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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Before You Go: ‘Tips for Tax Season’

CRL columnist John Gray gets you ready for tax day.

A wise man once said golf is a lot like taxes. You work hard to get to the green, only to end up in the hole. March is here and while you still have a little time to get your financial affairs in order, it is a sad reality that Uncle Sam wants his due and expects it soon, my friend. I’m one of those people who overpays taxes in my paycheck every two weeks just so I’ll get a nice juicy refund in the spring. I know, I know, it’s my money and I’m essentially giving the government an interest-free loan, but the truth is if I got that cash a little at a time all year long I’d spend it on Netflix and cheeseburgers.

As excited as I get to receive a big check life always has a way of snatching it away, doesn’t it? The furnace goes or the roof leaks or the car needs new brakes. Just once it would be nice to have fun with the money.

I was an English major in college so I know little about finance and accounting, but I do possess a Bachelor’s Degree in common sense; something I believe should be applied to our tax system.  What I mean is, I think there are things that should be tax deductible based on logic, merit and just plain fairness. Here are my Top 5.

  1. Chocolate in the event of a bad break-up. If someone dumps you and you need to nurse your wounds by eating copious amounts of chocolate, all of it is tax deductible. The IRS will also accept deductions for cake frosting eaten directly from the can, red wine that comes from a bottle with a screw on cap, and of course, any Nicholas Sparks books or movies. Example: if you scarf down a three-pound Whitman’s Sampler while drinking a gallon of merlot and watching “A Walk to Remember” – all deductible.
  2. Speeding ticket fines will be tax deductible if you can prove you were rushing some place important like the hospital to have a baby or home to watch the season finale of “The Bachelor”.
  3. Half of your cable bill can be deducted because more than half of the 2,000 channels you are paying for are garbage. Admit it, you don’t care about the Campbell family and their quest to rid the Texas countryside of wild boars in A&E’s “American Hoggers”, so why should you pay for it?
  4. Any breakfast cereal that tastes like tree bark, but you are forced to eat under doctor’s orders. Example: Kashi GoLean Crunchy Fiber Twigs. Before you ask, no, I did not make that name up. It actually has the word “twigs” in it.
  5. NY Yankee tickets if the team doesn’t make the playoffs. It’s bad enough paying a $100 per seat, $45 to park and another $50 for a couple of hotdogs and beers (not to mention the gas and tolls to get there); if the team stinks the government should cut you a break.
John Gray
John Gray
John Gray is an Emmy-winning journalist and writer. In addition to his 32 years of television experience, John is the author of three children's books and two novels. He is married with three children. He and his lovely wife Courtney have five dogs, three of them are rescues with special needs. They make their quiet home in Rensselaer County.

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