Backstory: Tax breaks you might have missed
With new tax cut extensions going into effect, it's time we understood some of the more subtle nuances involved in paying our taxes. So try to keep this guide close at all times in case you want to know if that deduction for organic rhubarb will get you audited.
• Those making more than $8 million a year will pay absolutely no (as in zero) taxes. However as an incentive to earn more, they will get back $7 million of the money they didn't pay.
• Minimum-wage earners pay nothing in taxes unless they select food that can be eaten with silverware, in which case they pay the maximum amount.
• The nation of Uzbekistan will be auctioned at Sotheby's to the highest bidder as an individual or corporate deduction. Bids will start at 40 herds of sheep.
• Oil companies can deduct a full tank of gas, every week, for each driver who chickens out and buys a hybrid.
• Parents of college students cannot (as in can not) deduct tuition, transportation to and from the school, undergarments, overgarments, in-between garments, or anything else that requires money to be spent to make their children "happy."
• Ryan Seacrest gets to deduct Paula Abdul.
• People whose last name begins with the letter Q not followed by the letter U will not be audited. Maybe.
• All family vacation trips to Afghanistan are deductible.
• Capital gains tax shall be defined as money earned from capital gains unless the gains are capitalized or the capitals are gained, in which case it shall be decided by a coin toss at a neutral H&R Block office.
• Repairs to couches upon which Tom Cruise leaps can be deducted so long as no baby gift was sent to his family.
• Bungee jumps are deductible when the jumps are unsuccessful.
• All language lessons are deductible as long as they are not used as a means to converse with illegal immigrants.
• Real estate agents are able to deduct the cost of adding adjectives to their advertising so long as the words are four syllables or less, e.g. breathtaking, unique, fixer-upper.
• Oprah pays whatever she wants.
• Chuck Cohen is an advertising writer and satirist based in Mill Valley, Calif.