Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ramping Up

The tax job is quickly ramping up. I spent over nine hours today trying to complete the sample tax problems that are supposed to be a condition of employment. Unfortunately, I spent most of the day on computer problems, handing out applications, taking in W-4's and I-9's and even doing a preliminary tax return when I happened to be the only one in the office. State tax information has yet to be loaded into the software (because Vermont decided just today what its tax forms are going to look like for the 2009 tax year), and the entire software package has major bugs including the inability to e-file for about 10% of the client base. We have about half the number of trained and certified tax preparers we need, and none of the office managers (including yours truly) have a clue what they are supposed to be doing. But I did get a key to my office, so there's that.

In other words, a typical tax season.

I told the boss man today that the best thing about tax season is that no matter how badly you screw the pooch, it's all over in 60 days and you have the rest of the year to recover. I'm not sure he saw the humor in that as much as I did.

Everyone knows that Pat Robertson is complete and utter douche nozzle. If that's all he was, then it wouldn't be quite so loathsome when says idiotic things like the recent Haitian earthquake was God's punishment for the deal Haiti made with Satan to get rid of the French. The real problem is the significant chunk of the US evangelicals who agree with him (browse the cringe-worthy comments under the video written by the True Followers of the Prince of Peace).

John Greer has another three-part (so far) series on reforms that could potentially head off the coming political collapse. In Immodest Proposals, he proposes a tax system based on resources (what Greer calls the primary economy) and on money made by money or interest, capital gains, etc. (what he calls the tertiary economy). What wouldn't be taxed is wages, rents, etc. or what he calls the secondary economy. In part two, Housebreaking Corporations, Greer proposes reforms to what I consider to be one of the biggest mistakes in history; treating corporations as legal persons who are not held to the same level of accountability as natural persons. I'm not fully convinced that Greer's proposals would accomplish that, and the potential for political mischief is high. But the current system is clearly broken and it's hard to imagine the level of political mischief in any alternate system being higher than in the current one. Finally, in The Costs of Community, Greer explores something we hear a lot about these days: building communities. Or, when someone is harrumphing about whatever Evil of the Day, the disintegration of communities. Usually via a form of media blamed in some other person's harrumph for causing that same disintegration. The entire piece will bring up painful memories for anyone who has tried and failed to get a community-based project going. Everyone wants to be a part of it and reap the benefits as long as it makes no demands of their time or effort.

In any case, it is yet-another interesting series that should get more attention than it will. And so it goes.

It's getting late and I have another long day tomorrow. I'll try to post every day or two, but if I disappear for a while, blame tax season.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Good thing they hired a computer geek! Too bad they have you in the Brattleboro office since it sounds like they need you in the Keene office.