In my three decades or so of employment, I have to admit that the taxman -- whether federal or state level -- and I have never enjoyed a terrific relationship.
In truth, we've had more skirmishes than any border dispute in the Middle East.
Once, while working as a "service" bartender in college -- that's the bartender in a restaurant who mixes solely for the serving staff -- I received a notice from the IRS that I owed more than $600 in back taxes.
This, despite the fact that I was making $3.00 an hour and collected nowhere near the gratuities that the so-called front-line mixologists did at the main lounge.
Apparently my superiors decided to report me as making at least 8 percent per night in tips.
Another fight with the New York State Tax Division lasted two years, (their mistake) and when I finally received a check for the amount in question, it was short $43. Three years later, the tax folks at the Empire State again shorted my refund and later, (one year later, to be exact) apologized for the miscalculation.
For the record, I received neither refund enacted under President Bush's tax cuts. When I logged on to the IRS Web site to find out why, I was informed told I was above the income level. Meanwhile, a close relative, a senior vice president at a massive international reinsurer, promptly received both.
Although I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories, I'm convinced the IRS has added one or two zeroes to my W-2s for giggles due to our long-standing friendship.
Which is why I became sort of disheartened to see that both our standing president and vice president saved an aggregate $110,000 under the cuts passed by their administration.
The president reported taxable income of $672,788 and paid $207,307 in taxes -- about 12 percent less than they would have prior to the cuts.
Meanwhile, Vice President and Mrs. Cheney reported total income of $2,173,892 -- $1,328,678 of which was taxable -- and paid $393,518 -- which is more than $80,000 less than they would have under the pre-Bush tax cuts.
By contrast, at the dual-income Carlino household, despite no changes in W-4 deductions, roughly the same taxable income as 2003, and more money tithed to charities, we were forced to wire Uncle Sam more money than we've ever had to.
The ratio of taxable income and payment between our house and the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is, in my opinion, unfairly skewed.
I for one am not going to do cartwheels if the administration lobbies successfully to have the current tax cuts made permanent.
In 2001, when he first presented his plan, the president crowed that, "It's time the American people get a refund."
Four years later, I'm still waiting for mine.
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