Neil Offen: It’s tax tips time
Some last-minute tips on how to fill out your Form 1040. Note: these instructions are also useful for Form 8940, Form 1776, Form 1941-1945, WW II, and Schedules 8812, 9692, 89-83 (three overtimes), A, C, E, F, J and SE as well as Schedules SE, J, F, E, C and A, if you’re reading right to left.
For more explanation of these last-minute tips, please see the official Form 1040 Instruction Manual which is available by the pound at your local supermarket. On Tuesdays, you can buy one and get one free.
Remember, according to chart A, B or TWA (business class), you are required to file an income tax return if you are a citizen of the United States or have ever watched a “Golden Girls” re-run on TV.
There is an exception for certain children under the age of 19 or full-time students who think it’s funny that their parents still use email.
Don’t forget that there are different kinds of Form 1040, including the hybrid one which gets nearly 50 miles to the pen but feels a little cramped in the back. Make sure you use the correct one, which you can determine by finding out that you have filled out the wrong one and taxes are due tomorrow.
Line 6c will explain to you how to fill in Line 3b. If Line 3b refuses to listen, remind it that you have friends in Form RRB-1099-R and you aren’t afraid to use them.
On Line 13, if you sold a capital asset, such as a large letter M, you must complete and attach capital FORM 8949 with a dollop of SCHEDULE D or promise never to use italic fonts again.
Remember that Line 24 should include any performing-arts-related expenses if you are a qualified performing artist and can juggle while you sing The Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride.” If you can remember all the words to “Ticket to Ride,” you may qualify for the still-functioning-memory exemption.
Line 36 needs to be divided by Line 18 but only if the sum of the square of the hypotenuse is higher than the sum of all your fears of higher-level math.
If you are a student, you can deduct student loan interest on Line 33, assuming that you still have any interest in staying a student and having all those loans.
Notice that Lines 64a and 64b are exactly the same and are part of a trick question designed to see if you are really paying attention.
There is no Line 64c although if you are willing to sign a petition demanding one, please let us know.
If the amount on Line 38 is greater than the amount on Line 29 but not as great as the amount on Line 2, less the money you spent on an over-priced lunch yesterday (beverage included if you are filing jointly), you may have to pay a penalty.
That penalty is starting all over again.
Neil Offen can be reached at email@example.com.