Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Read This (because you probably have to): 1040 Forms and Instructions

1040 Forms and Instructions
by The Internal Revenue Service

The Short Story
High stakes, choose your own adventure booklet for adults.  If you choose correctly you win fabulous prizes get a refund.  If not, better have deep pockets. 

Come for the...
The 1040 Forms and Instructions is a must read.  In fact, I do it every year about this time.  It's so consuming I can't put it down!

The most striking feature, though, has to be the language.  It's like one gigantic word problem from high school algebra.  Let's say you chose the storyline that led you to the 1099-G.  Here's your next mission:
None of your refund is taxable if, in the year you paid the tax, you either (a) did not itemize deductions, or (b) elected to deduct state and local general sales taxes instead of state and local income taxes.****
At this point I wanted to choose a new adventure.  Too bad those are the instructions for line 10.  Out of 76.  But take heart and keep going; as the wacky doctor on The Simpsons once said, "The most rewarding part was when he gave me my money."

Stay for the
Tiger Beat-style detachable posters forms; W-2 trading cards; the refund?

Unfortunately, think about this too hard
  • My archenemy, form 4562.  By the time the 5 years is up, the computer I'm depreciating will be obsolete.  I'm filling this out for the third year running and still have no idea how to do it. That's why I'm on hold with the IRS now.
  • There's actually a specific order for your tax forms and schedules.  Underneath the 2010 in the top right corner there are various sequence numbers.  I have no idea what happens if you get them out of order.

The Big Three
Language: the IRS won't be held responsible for what comes out of your mouth as you read their book
Sex and Stuff: not likely, as you argue with your spouse about the location of the third quarter expense receipts.
Violence: ymmv

Happy taxes everyone!  In all seriousness the IRS has a decent website and the customer service people are really helpful.  (Trust me, I know.  They fill out my form 4562 every year)  Does anyone else actually do their own taxes?

****I didn't make that up, but please don't actually take this as tax advice.


  1. hahahaha. you're hilarious. i really like this blog. it's so you. you rock!

  2. Thanks Rach I love your blog. Makes me wish you lived closer again.

    Richard welcome to the blog! I'll have to stop by yours as well. Thanks for appreciating my cynical humor. I actually needed to call the IRS back today and my son decided to change his own diaper while I was trying to get some tax help. Never a dull moment until April 18th.

  3. I can tell your blog is one I will check often! Thanks for the laugh and for checking out my blog as well!

  4. Shannon, thanks for the visit! I promise I actually review real books normally. :)