It was a suicide mission. I knew that going in.
That’s the way I like it. Long odds against … well, impossible odds.
I made my time (sic) and said my goodbyes. “Goodbye, iPod. Goodbye, iMac. Goodbye, iPad. Goodbye, Apple TV.” I’m only human so I brought the iPad with me. I knew we would make a fine Thelma & Louise moment together.
I was going to that McDonalidzed experience at the strip mall where they make eyeglasses. What the hell, you can only die once.
I made sure to bring my blue pen. We were decidedly heading out past the point of no return.
I squinted and turned to face my destiny. I took that warm feeling spreading through my pants as a sign I was doing the right thing.
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FIRS = F-word of your choice + IRS.
Are you enjoying national tax day? Are your taxes done? Or have you committed a boo boo?
The local news has been reporting the scam for months. Clever identity thieves somehow are able to take a minimal piece of information, like a social security number, and use it to abramoff with someone else’s tax refund.
The most unbelievable part is that they are somehow able to get around the world famous tight security at the IRS.
There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
–The Beatles, Taxman
Ah. A story problem. Math will elucidate the tax bracket faced by the The Beatles. 1 + 19 = 20. So the tax rate (the 19 for the taxman) is 19/20. My calculator tells me that equals .95 aka 95 percent. Yes, The Beatles were in the 95 percent tax bracket. Says Wikipedia, “As their earnings placed them in the top tax bracket in the United Kingdom, the Beatles were liable to a 95% supertax introduced by Harold Wilson’s Labour government.”
Hearing about this scam over and over again, and how it apparently worked, I began to formulate my plan. I was going to
steal the Declaration of Independence file for Mitt Romney’s tax refund. With that I’d finally have enough money to retire, move to a beach on Zihuatanejo and hang out with Andy Dufresne and Ellis “Red” Redding.
All I had to do was get my hands on Mitt Romney’s W-2 forms. Dammit, foiled again!
Like I tried to teach my son when he was younger, there is no $20 dollar bill fairy. If you lose your money, there is no force in the universe that will say, “Tell me all about it. Here, allow me to give you some more.” It just don’t work that way. What’s gone is always gone and it always stays that way. So don’t lose that $20 dollar bill.
Meanwhile, though, apparently the IRS is in the habit of giving refunds to the wrong people. The bad people. And that got me to wondering. Is there a tax fairy?
Think of it this way: Let’s say I owe you $20. Then, for whatever reason, I give your money to Bob. Does this mean I no longer owe you a debt? I doubt you’d agree. You likely say, “I don’t care who you did what to for how many cookies. I want my $20. Guido here is about to offer some encouragement to your kneecaps.”
The simple point I’m trying to make is that the IRS being fooled by criminals should not alleviate their responsibility to give people their own money back. So you gave the money to Bob? Boo freakin’ hoo.
If not, then I suggest a new tax form. Let’s call it the 7734-PROX-EZ.
- Line 1: Amount of tax you owe.
- Line 2: Amount of money you gave Bob. (Enter amount of line 1.)
- Line 3: Amount you own the IRS: (Subtract Line 1 from Line 2.)
- Line 4: Sign full name to indicate your tax burden this year is a mulligan.
If the IRS isn’t being a tax fairy for the victims of crime then I’m sure they’ll understand.
Last, but not least, one other simple concept:
- The guy who threw a rock and smashed your window to bits? He owns the glass store.
- The guy who slashed the whitewalls on your car? He owns the tire store.
- The people who make computer viruses? The makers of your favorite anti-virus software.
- The company that makes tax filing software? They vigorously oppose efforts to make filing taxes simpler.
This is all, of course, predicted by GUNT, my Grand Unification Negativity Theory for everything.
In case that last bullet point is somehow unclear, let me say this:
TurboTax Maker Linked To Fight Against ‘Return-Free’ Tax System
It looks like there is a tax fairy after all. He just works a bit differently (more sinister and evil) than even I expected. And his name is TurboTax. I try to be negative but sometimes even I can be schooled.
Well played, TurboTax.
Gnome Your Enemy
Tickmaster is a website service that sells tickets. (Yes, this is a bona fide typo but I’m not fixing it. -Ed.) They offer a “fan guarantee” chock full of neat-o sounding stuff. I just looked and only counted three fine print asterisks on a bulleted list of eight items. Certain exceptions apply.
Wow. Is that a festive and fun fan guarantee or what?
Some people who purchased tickets through the official Ticketmaster website may have been signed up for a “rewards” program that costs $9 a month. According to Consumerist.com, the attorney for the plaintiffs in a suit against Ticketmaster claimed 93% of program participants never redeemed a single coupon.
This week Ticketmaster settled a $23 million lawsuit alleging that customers were signed up for the program without realizing it costed $9 month which was charged to the same credit cards used to make ticket purchases.
The settlement has been approved by a U.S. District Court judge and, it goes without saying, Ticketmaster did not admit any wrongdoing. Like me, apparently they love to pay $23 million to make problems go away. Hell, I’m always out doing that. Perhaps that’s one reason why I don’t have a lot of money on me. You know my motto. “Never leave home without $23 million.”
The average rewards member lost about $72 because it apparently took about eight months for them to notice the mysterious recurring charge on their statements. “Hey. What’s this giant sucking sound in my account?”
About 1.2 million people who signed up between September 2004 and June 2009 are eligible to file claims as part of the settlement and could receive up to $30. What the hell, it only went on for almost five years. That’s a pretty good run in ecommerce circles.
This sort of thing reminds me of the time my wife booked travel plans from a snarky gnome and we got hit with similar “membership” charges. To this day we don’t know what benefits were part of the program. They never told us.
With all this in mind, I am pleased to announce the new Gigantor Abyss Rewards Program (GARP). According to the world of GARP you provide your credit card information and I respond with a personalized notice of acceptance. The guru will fee you now and, as an added bonus, there’s no waiting room. Membership has its snivileges.
The Reverse Untrendy
I love finding new internet things. I never cease to be amazed.
The Nigerian scams that try to trick you into sending money to collect a big prize? Internet to the rescue. A new form of entertainment is born called “scambaiting” where would-be victims turn the tables on the evil motherfuckers.
Scam baiting is a form of Internet vigilantism, where the vigilante poses as a potential victim to the scammer in order to waste their time and resources, gather information that will be of use to authorities, and publicly expose the scammer. It is, in essence, a form of social engineering that may have an altruistic motive or may be motivated by malice. It is primarily used to thwart the Advance-fee fraud scam and can be done out of a sense of civic duty, as a form of amusement, or both.
OMG! LOLZ! Sometimes I fucking love you, internets. Brilliant!
At the office, we get asshole marketing calls all the freakin’ time. Most turn out to be search engines and credit card processing companies. One of the latter is really bad. They get their jollies off by calling us every day. They act nice up front but as soon as you ask them for the umpteenth time to be taken off their call list, they get really nasty. They’ll snarl and hang up on you.
I get it. I hate my job, too.
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Be charitable but not a sucka
Americans are generous. We contribute about $300 billion to charitable causes every year. (About half of that is typically donated between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.)
We also give deep in the wake of disasters like the recent earthquake in Haiti.
We are generous but we don’t want to be stupid, either. We know that there are some bad people who seek to profit from human suffering. I have personally seen scammers spring out of the woodwork like cockroaches shortly after major events like earthquakes, rebate checks, H1N1 and even 9/11. These people strike under the guise of some cause at a time when people are feeling emotional and particularly giving. That can make them easier prey. The sad thing is that none of the money that is purloined by fraudsters goes to help anyone. It’s simply outright theft. For the evil among us there are no decency limits of any kind.
Chip Clip: The power to fuck you
When you give someone your money, you are giving them the power to fuck you. It’s as simple as that.
Witness the simple “chip clip.” This amazing piece of technology is a bundle of plastic and a spring. What magic can it perform? It seals your partially consumed bag of deep fried greasy goodness.
Here’s how it works:
First, you buy the chip clip.
Next, get a back of chips. Eat some.
Then, while holding the bag, take the clip in your hand and squeeze. This is, in actuality, the only intended use of the chip clip. It is its sole purpose of existence.
Now, this is the important part. Only squeeze it enough to accomodate the bag of chips. This is the exact moment when the chip clip will break.
The chip clip is a product designed to break when you use it for the single purpose for which it was designed.
Remember, you gave them your money for this. Enjoy!