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Happiness is tax season in the rearview mirror.
By Edie Gross
I've also got several carefully prepared spreadsheets listing every potential tax deduction we've accrued that year--none of which matters because you can't deduct that stuff unless line 29 of Form 8816 is less than 18 percent of the combined total of Schedule H line 5 and 1099-MISC line 14, which conveniently never happens.
Before we begin, my husband sticks a slip of paper over the top right corner of the computer screen to hide the box that will display a running total of our refund.
The number in the box will go up and down repeatedly over the next several hours, and if we don't cover it, we risk having our fragile hopes raised and dashed over and over again until we simply can't take it anymore and resort to slitting our wrists with IRS Form 1099-LTC, which is specifically designed for that purpose.
We spend the rest of the day contemplating lump-sum distributions, deferred compensation plans and vested benefits, which is made all the more difficult by the fact that we don't know what any of those things are.
After much gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes, we finish the process and uncover the refund box to learn we're now $16.23 richer than when we started, just enough to buy a bottle of celebratory wine.
Because news like that, much like the tax code, is best enjoyed in an altered state.
Edie Gross: 540/374-5428