Ciao: Enjoying a couple of extra days before filing

BILL KLAUBER

My friend Henry called me late last night. He seemed very upset, almost in a panic.

He asked if I was paying my income taxes tomorrow — which now is today.

“No,” I told him, “I’m waiting until Monday.”

“What, are you protesting? Aren’t you afraid you’ll get a penalty for not sending them in on time?”

Before I could answer him he launched into what almost sounded like a tantrum.

“That’s what’s wrong with this country. Everyone wants to protest. It’s this darn tea party thing. Just because our forefathers got away with it with King George in the 18th century, some guys think we can do it with King Obama in the 21st century.”

“What are you talking about,” I asked him — or at least I tried to ask him. But he wasn’t listening.

“It’s all these women, it’s their fault.”

I had never known Henry to be a chauvinist. I thought he loved women. After all, he has a wife, two daughters and a girlfriend (although please don’t tell him I told you and certainly don’t tell his wife).

“What women,” I asked?

“The whole bunch of them, Sarah Palin, Betty White, Tina Fey, Alice Fay, Alice in Wonderland — all of them.”

He seemed to be in frenzy. I had never heard him talk like that before.

“What do those women have to do with paying our taxes?”

“They’re part of the conspiracy. They and the rest of their finger curling tea party crowd. But there are men involved, too. Like some of these governors who are thinking of running for president.”

“Who?” I managed to ask.

“There’s former governors Pawlenty, Romney, Huckabee, almost every governor but the one who should run, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. He makes a lot of sense, besides he would be the perfect candidate for those of us on WeightWatchers.” (If you saw Henry you would know that the only weight watching he does is watching his go up.)

“Besides,” he continued, “they had enough trouble running a state government. How are they going to run a country? Particularly ours.”

He took a breath just long enough for me to ask what that has to do with paying our income tax?

“It’s taxation without representation. That’s what disturbs me. Take Wisconsin. After Governor Walker tried to reduce the deficit by suggesting state employees pay for some of their benefits, all the Democratic Congressmen became walkers. They left the state and the governor couldn’t get anything done. If you paid taxes there, that certainly would be taxation without representation.”

“Well, I guess you could say that. But we’re talking about the federal government and the federal income tax.”

“I know, but isn’t Congress threatening to shut down the federal government? Then they’ll probably want to hide out in Acapulco or Cancun and call it a fact gathering trip, so we the people can pay for their hiatus. Why should I send them any money if they’re not going to work?”

“Good point,” I admitted. “But the Republicans and the Democrats have reached a compromise of a sort to keep the government running.”

“Well, I heard that the government was closing down tomorrow and yet they expect us to pay our taxes tomorrow.”

“You heard correctly. Government offices are officially closed on April 15 this year, but only because it is a holiday in Washington, D.C., this year. We still have to pay our taxes, but this year not until April 18.”

“What kind of a holiday is on Friday, April 15? I know it’s not Good Friday because I’d be going to church.”

“Apparently it is an obscure holiday to do with emancipation.”

“Emancipation. What emancipation? Since when do taxpayers get emancipation — not that I don’t favor that.”

“Apparently,” I replied, feeling very well informed, “on April 16, 1862, good ol’ Abe Lincoln freed 3,100 slaves in the District of Columbia and it is a local holiday, although I admit I never heard about in all the years we lived in the D.C. area. This year it will be observed on April 15, since the 16th is Saturday.”

“Did those 3,100 work for the government?”

“I don’t think so. But the federal government is recognizing that holiday and therefore our returns do not have to be postmarked until Monday, April 18.”

“Emancipation Day, you say. It seems like the only people being emancipated are the federal employees.”

“Well,” he concluded, “if the feds can do it, I can do it. I’m going to let my wife know that I’m emancipated tomorrow and that I’m playing golf, no matter what chores she might think of.”

Ciao!

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