Thursday, December 30, 2010

tax fun

In celebration of finally finishing the riveting Link and Learn tax training for volunteer income tax preparers, I thought I'd share a couple of the items I found particularly entertaining:
  • "To correctly apply the substantial presence test, it is necessary to define the term 'United States'". This section goes on to explain that the United States includes US territorial waters, but not US airspace, leading my co-worker and I to wonder if one wouldn't have to pay taxes if one lived in a hot air balloon.
  • If, however, you live on the ground you'll need to use certain charts to determine how much tax you need to pay, including, potentially, the Standard Deduction Chart for People Born Before January 2nd, 1946 or Who Are Blind.
  • There are also other deductions available, so you need to ask clients if they have any expenses in the following categories: "medical and dental expenses, taxes you paid, home mortgage interest you paid, gifts to charity, job expenses, and certain miscellaneous deductions". (Why yes, I have certain miscellaneous deductions that I'd like to itemize.)
  • However, you may not deduct for donations made to certain organizations, including business organizations, civic leagues and associations, political organizations and candidates, social clubs, foreign organizations, homeowners associations and communist organizations.
  • Oh, and sorry, your blood donation is not tax deductible.
And the fun doesn't stop with tax trainings. I also like seeing how clients fill in the box marked "marital status" on our benefits screening intake sheet. While the standard answers include single, divorced, separated etc., I've also seen
  • "In a relationship"
  • "None" and "Not"
  • And (my all-time favorite) "Good"

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