Tomorrow is Tax Day. Well, technically, Tuesday is Tax Day, because tomorrow is Sunday and Monday is a holiday no one outside of the District of Columbia has ever heard of (Emancipation Day — other states celebrate Emancipation Day, but not on April 16). But because I have a full time job, tomorrow might as well be tax day: I’ve got to get these suckers done today.
Now, lest you all think I am a terrible procrastinator, I want to note for the record that I filed our federal tax returns way back on February 2, the day the last of the W-2′s arrived in the mail. All that remains is our Vermont taxes, and my problem is not that I am a procrastinator, but that I am passive aggressive. Filing my Vermont taxes pisses me off, and not because I’m anti-taxation or anti-government, or because I’m not expecting a refund, or any of that. No, it’s because I’m gay.
Wait! You’re thinking, “Isn’t Vermont one of those pinko commie hippie fringe states where the gays marry and have babies and all that?” Why, yes, it is: Vermont was the first state to enact civil unions back in 2000, and the first state to legislate marriage equality (in 2009), and not have it decreed by judicial fiat. I was actually a spectator in the State House the day the House of Representatives voted to override then-Governor Jim Douglas’s veto of the Marriage Equality bill, and I don’t think I have ever been prouder to be a Vermonter.
So I know I shouldn’t be so snarky about my State taxes. I know my wife and I are blessed to be able to file our taxes as a married couple, and if I am going to be passive aggressive about anything, I should aim my wrath and frustration at the IRS. It’s just that it’s so much work. I have to file our federal taxes first, dividing up the various deductions and credits to which our family is entitled so that we can maximize our refund. That usually means calculating the taxes several times over, figuring out whether it makes the most sense for Penelope or I to file as head of household, which one of us gets to itemize the mortgage deductions, which one of us gets to take the child tax credit, and so on. It’s time consuming, and if we could file as married and just lump all of our various deductions and credits together, I’d be happy to do it, even if we didn’t get quite as much money back.
Then, I write letters of protest to include with our Forms 1040, explaining that while we are signing the forms “under penalties of perjury” and declare the financial calculations to be “true, correct, and accurate,” we cannot warrant that “all statements” are true and correct because we know our filing status (“single” and “head of household,” respectively) to be false. I’ve enclosed these letters with our tax forms three years running, but so far I’ve never gotten a response from Uncle Sam.
Anyway, after I do all that, I have to do it all again for the Vermont taxes. There is a box on the Vermont Tax Return form that says “Check here if using Recomputed Federal Return information,” and what that means is, I have to check that box, draft fake federal returns as “married filing separately,” and base all of our State tax information based on these “recomputed” federal returns.
I have spent a lot of time over the years bitching and moaning about the injustice of it all, and periodically, someone will interrupt my rant to ask why I don’t just pay someone to do my taxes like everyone else. The answer is that it is offensive enough that I have to waste my own time drafting FAKE tax returns: I’m hardly going to spend good money to pay someone else to do it.