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Thursday, May 2, 2002

The Boss left me alone all day, but I had a curious call from him a little after six this evening. "Did I file personal income taxes last year?" He didn't want to know right now, he said, but some time in the next week, could I look for a copy of his return? Because the accountant had just told him he didn't file.

The accountant! I could be wrong, but I think that's the very person who gets paid to advise us on tax matters. He takes the information we give him and churns out all the paperwork the government requires. He sends it to the Boss to sign, the Boss sends it to me, and I send it to the IRS. The only thing simpler than that would be not to do it at all.

This is apparently how we ended up handling the situation last year. I couldn't wait a week, so I started looking through the file cabinet. Corporate return 1998, check. Individual return 1998, check. Corporate return 1999, check. Individual return 1999, check. Corporate return 2000, check. Individual return 2000 ... ummm, misfiled? Either it's the only tax record that I've misfiled, or it never existed.

This cannot come around to where it's my fault. All I do is round up all the raw data I'm asked for. From then until it gets back to me, I have nothing to do with it. I'm not an accountant and never wanted to be one. The accountant we use has been with the Company for three years, ever since the Boss decided he couldn't bully the last guy.

He does our taxes and our financial statements, which puts him at odds with our best interest on two fronts. If we say we make a lot of money, it looks good on the statement but costs us money in taxes. If we didn't make money, we don't pay taxes but can't get bonded for new work because the statement shows we're not doing well enough.

We let him tell the truth, of course, but we pay him to take the truth and make it work for us. Until last year that meant he took the information we gave him and did the best he could with it. My personal opinion is that he forgot about a personal tax return, and the Boss forgot to remind him. I'm out of it, and on the sidelines is where I plan to stay. I'm sure I'll get to hear about it until I know more than I want to.


A colorful corner of my garden, outside the bedroom window.

Did I mention the Boss left me alone all day? I think I got two days' worth of work done, so I've probably earned the right to sleep in tomorrow. Would that I could. If I'd known it would be so quiet today, I'd have taken a nap. That's the one thing that never gets to the top of my to-do list, and yet it's often the best thing I can do during the day. For my job as well as myself.

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