Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Question of the Day: 42

Is this any way to start a day?

My question of the day was going to be "Is it really possible that The Boy can distinguish between different brands of Ranch salad dressing," but that is a question that will now have to wait -- and likely will have to wait for "scientific" proof -- because I had to deal with what I can only assume were vague accusations of malpractice or fraud, coming at me from Oldest.

Almost as soon as I got into work today, Oldest called me and complained that, and I quote: "everyone I know is getting more back than me in taxes even though I earned more than them and paid more in taxes than them."

I did Oldest's taxes for her this year. I did them on Sunday before the Super Bowl, with her sitting there reading me the numbers. We did them using the same program I always use, and that program has never been wrong, for me or anyone I know. Oldest is supposed to get back nearly $600. Now, here she was complaining about that and suggesting that I had maybe screwed up in some way. You know, screwed up typing into the computer the numbers that she read me. I'm not sure how she figured I could screw that up. Maybe she thought I hit, instead of "enter," the "miscalculate" key. (Frankly, I don't know why my computer even has that key.)

When I asked who, exactly, was everyone, she said her boyfriend, Jeff, who did his own taxes and said he's getting more back in a tax refund than her.

I tried, briefly, to explain this to Oldest: If you make more money, you pay more in taxes. "Do you get that?" I asked her.

," she said, and then immediately added "So how come he gets more back than me even though he had less taken out of his checks?" I tried, again, to explain the whole higher income = higher taxes, and also to explain that Oldest had opted to have relatively little taken out of her taxes, but she kept protesting that Jeff was getting more back than her.

Finally, I tried this: "Did you see his tax returns?" I asked. She said, no, she hadn't. "Do you know if he claimed he paid rent? Do you know if his math is right? Do you know if he's even telling you the truth about how much he's getting back in taxes?"

"No," she said, to each of those.

I pointed out this: "You always do this," I said. "You always jump to conclusions based on something someone told you without even seeing any proof. You've done that all your life. Some friend of yours says something and you assume that's correct and just assume that what I tell you is wrong, even though I've got things like evidence or the law on my side." I continued: "Why would you assume that Jeff is getting more money back and that that's unfair, when you don't know for sure how much he made, how much he had taken out, how much he claimed on his tax forms, or even exactly how much he's getting back?"

To which Oldest replied:

"It's just not fair that he's getting more back than me."

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