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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Holy taxforms, batman! [Apr. 5th, 2005|09:43 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
1. Enter your taxable income
2. Enter your qualified divs from Form 1040, in 9b
3. ...
4. ...
5. Subtract in 4 from in 3. If zero or less, enter 0.
6. Subtract line 5 from line 2. if zero or less, enter 0.
7. Enter the smaller of line 15 or 16 of Sch D.
8. Enter the smaller of line 3 or line 4.
9. Subtract line 8 from line 7.
10. Add lines 6 and 9.
11. Add lines 18 and 19 of Sched D.
12. Enter the smaller of line 9 or line 11.
13. Subtract line 12 from line 10.
14. Subtract line 13 from line 1. If zero or less, enter 0.

And it just goes on and on like that until it turns into a frickin' choose your own adventure novel:

If lines 15 and 16 are the same, skip lines 19 and 20 and go to line 21. Otherwise, go to line 19.
If Schedule D, line 19, is zero or blank, skip lines 25 through 30 and go to line 31, Otherwise go to line 25...
If Schedule D, line 18, is zero or blank, skip lines 31 through 33 and go to line 34, Otherwise go to line 31...

Is this shit for real?

No wonder there's tax software to do all this. What a tedious waste of time.

Glad that I have somebody do this all for me.

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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: brad
2005-04-06 04:46 am (UTC)
How many real source numbers are there that aren't functions of functions of each other?
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: adamthebastard
2005-04-06 04:51 am (UTC)
*shudders* prologue *twitch*
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[User Picture]From: rahaeli
2005-04-06 04:52 am (UTC)
I tried to do mine manually last year, but between the partial W2 income, the partial 1099-MISC income, and the partial 1099-DIV income I just threw up my hands, went out, spent the $40, and bought the tax software. I swear someone should pass a law stating that the printed-out tax code can weigh no more than a two-year-old child can easily carry.
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[User Picture]From: kyra
2005-04-06 04:54 am (UTC)
If I had just bought the tax software instead of going to H&R Block this year... I'd be $196 richer right now.

Larcenous fuckers.
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2005-04-06 04:52 am (UTC)
#3 is "Profit", right?
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[User Picture]From: supersat
2005-04-06 04:57 am (UTC)
It just occured to me that you could probably make a perl script to interpret the instructions (given how similar they are) and prompt for any values it doesn't have (like #1).
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-04-06 04:58 am (UTC)
I think somebody made that already.
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[User Picture]From: way2tired
2005-04-06 05:18 am (UTC)
Gotta keep all those CPAs and Tax accountants employed somehow. Where would they all go if the IRS didn't hire about 40000 of them??

Its a fucking mess. I still wish we'd just go to a VAT system. It'd suck up front, but it'd beat the hell out of this April 15th bull.
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[User Picture]From: taral
2005-04-06 05:25 am (UTC)
Which form is that?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-04-06 05:26 am (UTC)
Probably the "I sold a company so taxes are really not EZ" form.
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[User Picture]From: jeremyleff
2005-04-06 05:56 am (UTC)
{Please refer to my user pic}
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[User Picture]From: incogneato
2005-04-06 06:53 am (UTC)
I used to love those "choose your own adventure" books. I haven't seen them for ages!
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[User Picture]From: xb95
2005-04-06 08:07 am (UTC)
Final project for one of my CS classes: implement the 1040EZ (most of it) in Scheme. Bleh.
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[User Picture]From: quelrod
2005-04-07 02:40 am (UTC)

2nd thought, d00d that sucks :)
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[User Picture]From: wetzel
2005-04-06 08:35 am (UTC)
you, with a solid grounding in relational databases, i'm sure can easily see how the government could speed this up enormously (and save money, on both sides) by putting it all online and generating that data themselves. gah.
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[User Picture]From: pfig
2005-04-06 09:19 am (UTC)

free rpg!!!

the government gives you an rpg for free and you complain??

anyways, yesterday night i just filed my tax report for 2004 using the java app (filling; validation; simulation and submission) distributed by the portuguese 'irs' in a little under 15 minutes. and that includes summing different expenses, etc. hey, something had to be good in portugal.
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[User Picture]From: garrettpalm
2005-04-06 01:54 pm (UTC)
You know, if Bush and Grover and his boys at Citizens for Tax Reform have their way, your life would be easier....

Think about it... Bush is your friend.... yessssss....
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[User Picture]From: hawk
2005-04-07 03:58 pm (UTC)
sweet jesus, man, when was that picture taken?
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[User Picture]From: chris
2005-04-06 04:18 pm (UTC)
I've just used turbotax for web the last few years. I even itemized one year (and then scrapped it because i ended up owing more) and though not exactly easy, it was pretty painless. its not so much like a choose your own adventure as a really long, boring, online quiz.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-04-06 04:26 pm (UTC)
You are a consumer!
What type of American are you? Find out at!
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-04-06 07:05 pm (UTC)

exception-based flow considered harmful

It seems the US tax code is so complicated only because the doors have long been thrown open for lawmakers to hack in incentives for certain behaviors and constitutencies in the form of exception clauses.

This is why there are absurd minutiae such as being able to get a credit for:

diesel fuel and kerosene used other than as a fuel in the propulsion engine of a train or diesel-powered highway vehicle (but not off-highway business use)

Who except the people that clause actually applies to, has any idea who it applies to or what its purpose is?

The US tax code is like spaghetti code that's been around for decades, that no one owns (in a pride and care and hygiene sense), that no one understands in totality, and that each new generation of legislature just hacks their shitty ideas into.

Meanwhile, we have an artificial market for people to study it for shortcuts and guide others through its shifting waters.
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