Tax Day Customer Service

Two things happened on Friday that are sort of related, in that they both are examples of the government pissing me off. While my wife was being treated like scum by a petty government bureaucrat, I found out what my final tax bill for 2013 was.

First, my wife needed to renew her driver’s license. The DMV requires some specific pieces of info to decide if you are worthy. It doesn’t matter that she’s had a license in Utah for 20 years. Nope. It doesn’t matter that she has a Utah Concealed Firearms Permit (because a state issued form of ID that is background checked out the wazoo DAILY totally doesn’t count). She needed a W2 (oh, you’re a stay at home mom? Too damned bad) and a Social Security card. She couldn’t find her card. It doesn’t matter that there are a dozen other ways to verify her SS number, including our taxes, our mortgage, or the aforementioned other state issued IDs, nope, you need the actual piece of paper, because regulations, and we all know that nobody has ever forged a piece of paper before.

But no big deal. The guy at the DMV was just doing his job. He was polite and professional. Sorry, no hard feelings, understandable. So my wife needed to go to the Social Security Administration to get a new card and once she could show the paper indicating she’d asked for it the DMV would issue a temporary license.

So before going to the SS Admin, the lovely Mrs. Correia decided to check to make sure she had everybody else’s SS cards in the safe. For some reason Correia 2.1’s card was missing. 2.1 is now a teenager, so it probably got pulled out for some minor function, and not put back in the file, and was floating around the house somewhere with some other paperwork. Either that or it was being used by a dozen Guatemalans working for ACORN, who knows. So off Mrs. Correia goes to the federal building to get a new card for herself and for our oldest. She takes Correia 2.4 with her, because the only thing better than standing in line at a government building, is standing in line at a government building with a 2 year old.

Meanwhile, I’m home writing another novel. I’d like to say I’m Getting Paid (as should be on all author’s mission statements) but since I’m still writing the first half, apparently that part of the novel was written entirely for the federal government, but I’ll come back to that.

So Mrs. Correia and Moose go to the federal building, where they have to go through a metal detector and a guard checkpoint, and then stand in line waiting to talk to some ladies behind bullet proof glass… Judging by how they treat people, I can understand the need for guards and the bullet proof glass, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Those of you who have met my wife normally have the same reaction. “Why’d she marry you?” Basically, Mrs. Correia is a beautiful, charming, friendly, kind person. When she says that she was polite and nice at this point, I believe her, because that’s how she is. She’s not snooty. She’s not bitchy. And this is important, when she gets mad, she gets quiet. Not loud, that’s me. Quiet. She gets real calm and starts to plot her revenge. In 16 years of marriage I’ve never seen her shout at anybody other than me or the children, and it isn’t like that’s happened very often, which is what lets you know you done really screwed up when mom yells. She also put herself through college working crappy service jobs, and has waited tables, answered phones, been a hostess, and a restaurant cook, so her default to anybody doing a service job is always patient, because she’s been there.

So she’s in a good mood. 2.4 is in a good mood. She gets to the window. The woman, or shoggoth wearing a woman suit, I’m not entirely sure, on the other side of the thick glass doesn’t make eye contact. She keeps staring at her computer screen, mumbling something incomprehensible.


The woman barks at her that she’s not talking to her yet. She’s talking to some of the other .gov employees. Okay, no problem. Then she mumbles something else, all without making eye contact, and then gets angry when my wife doesn’t immediately respond, because now she is being addressed. She finally looks at my wife, and gives what she described as a sneer. Oh, yes, pretty lady, you’re in my lair now.

Okay, Mrs. Correia is still patient. Because she can barely hear the woman through the glass, she assumes the woman can’t hear her, so she speaks loudly and clearly and states her business. Keep in mind, my wife isn’t a loud person. I’m the loud one. She explains that she needs a new card for her and her daughter. She presents various pieces of paperwork that show she is who she says she is.

The shoggoth says she can’t accept the driver’s license, because it is expired. My wife, who checked the website to make sure she had enough stuff before standing in line, says that expired licenses are still good for like 60 or 90 days, and this just barely expired, so it should be fine. (meanwhile, our insurance card, which we could have made up and printed and then had laminated at Kinkos? Totally legit form of ID)

And this is when it gets sideways. The lady says, I shit you not “Ma’am, you need to calm down or I’m going to call the guards and have you removed.”

What the fuck?

My wife doesn’t even have an immediate response. She’s flabbergasted. That was too out of left field. Her reaction at this point was, huh? She’s not been agitated, or angry, or even particularly loud by adult human standards or even a little upset. There is literally nothing in her demeanor that suggests she is in any way distressed, at all.

My wife says she’s not upset… And this is why I love her, says “When you call the guards, call your supervisor too.” Then she reaches into her pocket, pulls out her cell phone, and says “I’m going to record the rest of this conversation.”

Boom. That stops the talk of Guards! Seize her! And the surly minor mandarin gets back to her super complex job of pushing a couple of buttons on a keyboard. But oh no, she couldn’t just shut up and do her stupid job. She actually warns my wife that she’d better not lose any more cards, because the SS is only allowed to issue a few replacement cards over someone’s entire life, and if our kids don’t have cards, then they won’t ever be able to have jobs or licenses…

No kidding.

According to Mrs. Correia, that snide little comment was delivered with this sort of maternal, self-righteous, lecturing tone you reserve for crack heads. Why, look what a terrible mother you are. To quote my wife telling me the story, “that comment was not delivered in a helpful manner, but it was more of a, you’re a shitty mom because your kids won’t get jobs or have drivers’ licenses.”

Yes… If you lose this token from the king, then your children will starve in a ditch. Are you kidding me? My wife says she’s not worried, gets her stuff for her temporary license and leaves (they don’t even print the cards there, they have to mail the cards from another facility, because pushing Ctrl P is probably WAY TOO COMPLICATED for this crew).

I don’t know what part of that makes me angrier. That fact that some petty bureaucrat can threaten to sic armed guards on a woman holding a 2 year old because she didn’t like her imaginary attitude or the part afterward where she needed to be put in her place, peasant.

Now if I’d been there, it probably would have been a lot worse, because I worked closely with the federal government for a big chunk of my professional career and I am a keen expert on their various forms of nonsense. When she said she’d call the guards, I probably would have said, sweet, you do that while I call my senator’s chief of staff. That reminds me of a story that I still can’t tell because I know the petty little scumbags involved would punish the people I used to work with just out of spite. But I once dealt with a minor government functionary who was so screwed up, imbalanced, hateful, and dumb, that the only thing that finally got them straightened out was when we got a senator involved with their bosses’, boss’, boss. (on that note, Mike Lee is a total badass, and he doesn’t just talk the talk about stopping out of control government abuse, but he walks the walk). Yet you know how that particular agency solved the problem? They promoted the idiot so they wouldn’t have to deal with her anymore. That’s what happens in an organization where it is almost impossible to fire anyone.

Before the easily butt hurt get all up in arms, no, I don’t hate all government employees. Like I said, I’ve worked with the government a lot and I’ve known many solid professionals during that time. However, everybody who has worked with or for the government in any capacity knows exactly how inefficient they are, and if they are one of the aforementioned solid professionals working there, they know that many of their coworkers are useless sacks of poo. In most functioning entities, if you have somebody who sucks, you fire them. When it is almost impossible to fire people, .gov managers do the next best thing and simply shuffle them around so that they are somebody else’s problem. They are fundamentally immune to the repercussions of their actions, and they know it. Then when you give these people some small measure of authority over other people’s lives, it shouldn’t come as a shock when they act like assholes.

Yet Americans are expected to shut up, know our place, and be good little serfs… If we get out of line, we’ll be in trouble.

No, lady, get off your high horse, make eye contact through your four inches of glass, quit fucking mumbling, and speak to us like a human being. I don’t know if you’re talking to me or one of your other friends, nor do I give a shit, because you work for me. That security guard you are threatening my wife with? I bet he doesn’t really like the way you’re using him like a club to intimidate peaceful people either.

Because I lost a slip of paper, my children’s lives will be ruined forever? And I’m being told this by a snide little cog of the government that routinely loses billions of dollars, thousands of rifles in Mexico, or every email that might be vaguely incriminating? Fuck off.

And when I say you work for me, no, I kid you not. I got my final tax bill for 2013. On the same day that my wife was being disrespected by somebody so bad at customer service she wouldn’t be qualified to run a register at Taco Bell, I found out that I paid enough in taxes to cover that woman’s entire salary… Only I’m hoping she doesn’t make that much, and I actually paid enough in taxes to pay her supervisor’s salary, assuming he was a GS 11 or 12, and probably cover his benefits too.

Whenever I complain about taxes I can count on somebody to come along and lecture me about how I should be glad to pay my fair share—about how it is super importantto pay for the iPhones for crack whores program, or the legions of useless departments and their functionaries. Every single time I say something on Twitter or Facebook complaining about the sheer mass of my taxes, or lamenting the other useful things I could have spent that money on, I’m told what a bad person I am and how I should feel bad. If I pay that much, it must be because I’m rich and therefore evil, so I should be super happy to fork over a bunch of what I make. Wanting to keep the fruits of my own labor is greed.

I should be happy to pay my fair share because more Americans work for the government than in the construction, farming, fishing, manufacturing, and mining industries combined. And somebody needs to foot that bill. But that still isn’t enough. The government still needs to do more, because they haven’t yet managed to bring their shitty brand of customer service to every single facet of our lives.

The condemners are usually the same crowd who bitch about everything related to America, or American history, or American exceptionalism, who get all angry at people like me for actually believing in that stuff. The difference is, they think America is the government, whereas my side thinks America is awesome despite our government.

Here is a lot more detail on my opinion on that subject, and my Cut Everything plan. This was my Tax Day Rant that went viral back in 2011: Hilarity ensued. In fact, it got me so much hate mail that it spawned a response a few days later. Which is what helped me come up with the Arguing Checklist.

Since that time I’ve quit my day job to be a full time writer and the amount I’ve paid in taxes has gone up dramatically. The government sure hasn’t gotten any smarter with our money during that either, and nothing drives that home quite like having some petty bureaucrat disrespect your wife all while having the honor of paying for it.

My Hugo Slate
A new short story from me

94 thoughts on “Tax Day Customer Service”

    1. Na dann werde ich die netten Herren mal vorbei schicken. And you can spend the rest of your life in a nice cozy camp working your self to death.

  1. Amen. Our small business had it’s 1st big year last year and our tax check is more than the highest take-home pay we’ve ever had previously. Having spent my own time as a .mil worker – I know how poorly this money will likely be spent.

    FYI – my wife loved the MHN e-arc — so plan on writing another big check next year!

  2. Here in Pennsylvania, I discovered that to get a driver’s license (having moved from Virginia) I had to present an SS card (my valid VA license wouldn’t do, nor my concealed-carry permit, nor my PASSPORT.) They were nice about it (all the local rural PA gummint employees seem to be presbyterians, that is, they agree with the rules but are civil about it.

    So I go to the SS office which wanted my birth certificate (woe!) but accepted my VA driver’s license instead (the one which PA Motor Vehicle would not accept) and reissued me my SS card.

    Which I took back to PA DMV to get my PA license.

    What killed me was, when I explained the illogical loop patiently to the clerk, and marveled, there was not one ounce of “yeah, that IS pretty silly, isn’t it” in her countenance. Went right over her head. Rules, you know…

    1. Good grief. I haven’t had an SS card for over thirty years. The number is etched in memory (and on decades worth of my tax returns) so it’s never been a problem. My state required I provide it for a DL, but did not require I show the card itself.

  3. I guess your “shoggoth in a woman suit” figured that since she had bulletproof glass in front of her and armed security backing her up, that she didn’t *need* to be nice.

    I had a bit better luck the last time I had to deal with bureaucrats, which was about a month ago when I had to go into my local Job Service for an interview (I’m curently between jobs, alas). We’d just had a major snowstorm, and my car got stuck in a snowdrift in the entrance drive (the back way in had been plowed, but not the front. Go figure). I walked inside and explained the situation (“Hi, I’ve got a ten o’clock appointment, but I’m a little stuck…”) and four of the staffers promptly volunteered to help me dig and push my car out.

    Counting the time we spent getting my car unstuck, I was in and out of there in about thirty minutes. Yes, I wrote them a thank-you letter, with a copy sent to their bosses at my state’s Division of Unemployment.

    1. Yes, I wrote them a thank-you letter, with a copy sent to their bosses at my state’s Division of Unemployment.

      What’s sad is that THIS is far more likely to get them fired than the crap Larry’s wife had to put up with.

  4. I’ve always believed that if you wanted to recruit a citizen’s army to take back the government, all you would need to do would be to go to the docks in NYC where the towed cars end up, and offer to arm everyone standing in that line.

    It’s been years, but at the time, you needed the person to whom the registration belonged (god help you if you were driving Dad’s car in from NJ on a date and forgot to stuff the meter) and an ungodly amount of cash (and there were signs on the wall limiting the amount of coins that could be included, so paying it all in pennies was, alas, not an option). And everyone knew car-towing in Manhattan was a mob-handout contract that proverbially cheated on the time limits for parking.

    I’ve NEVER seen an angrier bunch of ordinary citizens in my life as they inched their way through the criminal, ritual humiliation.

    1. Hey, I remember one of those visits. And the big fork lift piling car on car while exploding the tires. Impressive.

    2. They probably instituted gun control in order to prevent said army of citizens from doing what the NYPD hadn’t been able to do and actually route the mob from NYC. Didn’t want their sugar daddies getting booted from town, I bet.

  5. Your wife has a remarkable ability to keep her cool.

    We live in California and our taxes are through the roof. My husband gives me a running tally every month on how much we have paid so far this year and it’s staggering. My husband works in finance and sees first hand how the constant barrage of regulations affects the average person’s ability to make money (or not) on investments. Yet, no matter how much we pay- or how much our taxes go up– do we ever see an improvement in government services or efficiency. It’s amazing how much money can get thrown at a problem only to see the results get worse and worse thanks to government (the California educational system is a prime example of this).

      1. I don’t even know if I can bring myself to click on the link.

        We do think about leaving Ca but we won’t be in a position to do that for a long time because my husband’s job is too lucrative to leave behind– even taking into account the high cost of living here. My sister-in-law is in Virginia and she likes it well enough, but now that she’s adapted to the cost of living there she’s essentially priced out of moving back. My husband’s former assistant moved to Tennessee to be closer to her daughter and regrets making the jump. California is screwed up for sure but we live in a pretty conservative area (my husband was even able to get his CCW) and the weather is tough to beat. We go around and around on the issue…

      2. Larry, as another Californian, I want ALL of the would be escapee to stay put. Problem with people escaping from California is that they bring their voting mentality with them, polluting where ever they go. No I want them to stay right here, going down the ship into the Pacific Ocean when the Big One hits.

    1. We fled CA, ultimately landing in VA. It isn’t great, but compared to CA it is a cool drink of water on a hot day.

      1. What do you mean by freedom? In my mind financial independence is one of the most important kind of freedoms one can have. If my husband and I stay in California for the short term and save our money we’ll have many more options in the future. Who is to say we won’t retire out of state?

        I actually agree with dyingearth that staying in California is the better option for now because so many Californians are taking their politics with them as they leave the state and it may only be a matter of time before other states are irreversibly corrupted. I hope that’s not the case but seeing liberalism take over in Austin Texas is disheartening to say the least.

        My husband and I are long term thinkers by nature and no choice we make is going to be abrupt. I have seen too many friends jump at the chance to move out of state without knowing enough about where they’re going only to regret it later.

  6. I’d go to said Senator and Demand her dismissal, and banning from any government work. Make a few examples, and the rest will fall in line.

    1. Won’t work. Even if she does get fired, she’ll just sue the government and get her job back, including back pay.

      The game is rigged in favor of government bureaucrats. In no small part because the rules are written by government bureaucrats.

  7. I always try to be nice with these people, too. Sometimes it works really well if they’ve had a run of impatient clients and I come up all patient and nice.

    I recall — not gov related, but similar — when I called Apple Care (or whatever it’s called) to ask a question. I had to wait forever while the guy found my answer. Every once in a while he’d come back and say he was sorry for the wait and I’d say, “no problem” and he’d say “you’re so patient, thank you!” and I’d say, “no problem”. Finally he comes back with an answer for me that was absurd and I suddenly wasn’t patient anymore. I was downright bitchy. Supervisor gets on the line and gives me exponentially more than what I was asking for. So Mrs. Nice-gal was about to get the shaft while Mrs. Nasty-face got the perks. Great.

  8. For the past several years I have paid enough in federal taxes alone to employ a GS11 or 12. I started a business using what they left me, and now I am in debt for an amount well over the median income in my area. And I pay more per month in taxes STILL than any of my employees make and I haven’t pocketed a dime yet.

    Fargin’ idiots in Facebook-land tell me that if my business model can’t pay my employees at least 15 dollars an hour plus all the taxes, then I’m an idiot for getting into business in the first place, never mind that it would then cost THEM $20 to get a hamburger at Micky D’s.

    The Zombie Apocalypse has to make more sense than this. Bring it on.

  9. We all feel your pain. Here in the midwest (won’t tell the city for fear of retaliation), the govt workers are a joke at best. That is both the Fed and the state level. I have never in my life seen a more worthless bunch. Do your work? Give me a break. If you can find two or three that are not on perpetual breaks you are having a good day. And why does every single agency need three to ten ARMED guards at the door at all times. Perhaps if the govt would stop letting in all the degenerates from other countries we wouldn’t need all the guards.

    1. As someone who’d like to move to the US, I find it kind of ironic that you mention the government letting in degenerates.

      Have you looked at the visa requirements for non-degenerates recently?… Ouch.

      1. The complaint is not about people who get visas. The “degenerates” are the small minority of illegals that cause the majority of the legal and social expense problems. These include MS-13 members and many other unsavory characters. The crimes are getting more and more violent as well.

        That’s over and above the 75% who have stolen kids Social Security Numbers (a federal felony) to get jobs. And have also now screwed up kid’s credit histories for life.

      2. Do not move to the US. Do NOT get a citizenship if you do.

        Pick another country like Canada or even Mexico. This country is going full retard socialist, and once you get a green card or a citizenship, the nazis at the IRS want you to file on income outside the US, even if you no longer live here.

  10. It gave me a great deal of pleasure to forward this link to my wonderful senators, Klobuchar and Franken and tell them I will crawl over broken glass on my lips to vote against them.

    This is the future of ACA.

    Not that sending them this link will do anything useful. But it felt good.

  11. I checked the Social Security Bureau’s website and its true:

    ” You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during a lifetime. ”


    1. Well, seeing as you don’t need a SS card for very much, and that the SSA won’t be around in 20 years, you can almost certainly simply order a new card every time you need one and be fine.

      It’s been a while since I’ve seen one, but as I recall they’re not anything a decent scanner and printer can’t crank out.

  12. By the way the site also mentions that you don’t actually need the card, you just need to know your SSN. And of course, its printed on the SS card that it isn’t to be used as an ID card. Which makes sense, cause its just a piece of paper and anyone who wanted to could counterfeit one.

    Yet, we have government agencies asking for them in order to verify your identity.

    1. If they ask for it to prove your identity (in a gov’t position or otherwise) you are allowed to ask for documentation of their right to ask for it. Read the small print. 🙂

    2. In Utah the card is required for a driver’s license. Of course W-2’s and 1099’s also work. If you have them.

      Frankly, what needs to be done is to get Utah State legislators to amend the brand new stupid laws to allow other forms of SSN verification, including federal ID’s that already have the SSN (like US Military ID’s) and some others.

      The official list:

      For fun, scroll down to the right side of page two, where illegal resident driver’s license requirements are listed.

      1. They want the SS card because of the federal motor-voter law. If they issue an illegal a driver’s license, he can then use it to register to vote.

      2. strictly speaking, military ids that have been printed recently don’t have SSNs on them to prevent identity theft, they have a “dod id” number on the back in it’s place now

  13. Funny you should bring this up.

    I was at the Social Securty Administration in Salt Lake City last Thursday, trying to get a card so that I could apply at a temp agency.

    I had to pass metal detectors and security guards, too. I had to sit in the blandest waiting area imaginable until they called my number. Still, I felt sorry for the guards. They had nothing to do but sit all day. They were so bored that even when the metal detector went off, they still waved people through.

    The man who sat behind the bullet-proof glass didn’t give me any trouble. He was terse and formal, but not crass and crazy.

    Mostly, I wonder why on Earth anyone needs a social security card. There are lots of other ways to confirm your SSN.

  14. Bless your wife. I wish I had thought to record conversations with Gubbiment gooks. It took me 3 years to change my name back to my maiden name after my divorce. Social Security and now the DMV are nuts. All this crap about homeland security at the DMV I don’t understand why an illegal can get auto insurance ( I’m an insurance agent) but I can’t legally change my name on a drivers license without an act of congress.

  15. I ran into the expired license and social security card problem when I was laid off. My license had expired on my last birthday and I had mistakenly laminated my social security card when I was 12. The DMV wouldn’t reissue my drivers license without me taking the written driving test and a driving test I would have to pay $18 to have a creepy man sit in my car for half an hour and order me to drive around the city like his personal hostage. It took three weeks to get the new drivers license and social security card so I could apply for a temp job while looking for a new job. Thankfully I didn’t have the same minion that Mrs. Correia did but the trolls at the DMV were cring worthy as was the shaggoth who passed himself off as a driving instructor.

  16. The worst case of Federalisus Derpitus I’ve ever seen was on a cruise stop to the US Virgin islands a few years ago. Normally, to enter a foreign country, one just swipes their cruise ID and smiles at the camera. But not for this US Territory port of call. No, we had to line up for hours, with passport in hand, to go to a different part of the ship so the GS officer could check off our name on a printout- a task that could have been easily accomplished at the ship’s exit.

  17. My favorite government story is also about the SS office. We were adopting a kid and I went to the SS office to get a SS number for them. Before I left I looked up the regs online to make sure I could do it before everything was finalized and printed out the portion of that said I could. I get there and the lady refused. I showed her the actual reg and she dug out her own copy but still refused to do it, claiming it said the exact opposite of what it actually said. I asked to speak to the supervisor, only to be told that she was the supervisor. Great.

    I ended up having to go through our congressman to get them to follow their own regs.

    1. As our last great President once said the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

  18. When I lost my SS card in the move to WI & had to deal with the attitudinal bitch at the SS office, she had the gall to tell me I didn’t know my own mother’s name!

    Played 20 questions making me tell her personal information (because my driver’s license wasn’t good enough ID, apparently), then threatened to call the supervisor when I told her my mother’s name & she giggled & grinned and said, “no, that’s wrong”. Made as though she were going to roll her fat ass away from the window, & I said (rather loudly), “please get the supervisor”.

    Then she printed something out & told me my card would be mailed in a few weeks. If I needed it in a few weeks, I wouldn’t have come in now, would I? And if she can print the temporary info sheet, surely she could learn to send the print command to the other printer, the one with the blue card stock in it.

  19. I am a construction “Road Whore” for those who have never heard the term it means I travel to where the work is. Several years ago while working in Co. I bought a Motor home to live in. When I took it to the nearest DMV to register it in NM (My home state) the troll behind the counter looked at the CO. title and seeing that black and blue ink had been used (I was taught to always use black on documents) asked “Did you fill in your information or did the seller?” I answered truthfully that I had :Well she said, the seller has to fill it in, you need to go back to them and have them fill out a bill of sale.” So I drove back to Grand Junction and eventually I got the folks to fill out a bill of sale. The next time I went top a DMV it was near my home town in rural NM. I told the lady behind the counter what had happened showed her my documentation and she said “Some people are to lazy to get off their butts to walk outside. There is no law stating who fills in the information” 10 minutes latter I was back in “The Great Pumpkin” )Hey it a 78 that is orange inside and out” and headed out to the next job.

  20. I went without a valid state issued ID for a while (just used passport). When I finally went to get a new one (in a new state), the state worker expressed shock that all I could show him was a passport. ‘How do you get anything without a state id?” he asked? “I don’t asked for anything” I replied.

  21. I’ve frequently thought it would be a good idea to move tax day to October 15th…or election day to May 4th.

  22. You realize you could immigrate to a country with a Clarke law, get a second citizenship, and renounce your US citizenship?

    No taxes, and you can always visit the US on a visa ( not that ICE does anything about overstays ).

    There are a bunch of places you can get better treatment for your family and money. In some of them, you can even sit on a stack of guns lawfully.

    A second passport may be a good idea if the US goes full-retard socialist.

    1. I’ve never heard the term “Clarke Law” before. Would you mind explaining it?

      The “stack of guns” is the big problem. The only country I can think of that is nearby where you can bring them would be Panama.

      1. Panama is the example I had in mind, thanx. Belize is similar, and things are pretty loose in the Philippines as well ( if you or your wife is a citizen ).

        A Clarke Law is one similar to the one Arthur C. Clarke talked Sri Lanka into passing: If your income is entirely made outside of the country, you owe no taxes there.

      2. That’s not a bad idea. The only problem I have is the idea of renouncing my citizenship. However, if things continue down the road they are on, it will probably start looking better.

  23. RE: Paying salaries of government employees.

    During the shutdown, as is known, there were numerous incidents of park rangers and similar government employees essentially ordering people out of public lands. In one of the incidents, the people being bullied reminded him that they paid his salary. The not-as-clever-as-he-thinks clueless idiot responded that he paid his own salary too.


  24. We moved across country for my husbands job.. ( Air Force) Once in the lovely province of British Columbia.. it was decided that a new drivers licence was required.. We took the standard ID with us and stood in line.. We filled out the forms, and took his Nova Scotia Licence and then informed him he had no valid ID as a military ID card is not considered valid ID in the province of British Columbia.. Meanwhile I was not amused.. My husband has served in the military for nearly 31 years this May.. and has been all over where his ID was perfectly acceptable.. Just not in BC.. gotta love the government minions who push buttons and keep your life on hold. It took 8 weeks, and a fax from Ottawa saying he was gainfully employed .. to finally get the licence with updated picture from 23 years ago.. the first one had his old picture on it..

  25. A: End tax withholding: make everyone have to actually write a check for the amount of income taxes.

    B: Speaking of taxes and .gov minions, second wife started working at the inspector general’s office of a fed agency. Came home one day with an odd look, said there had been signs put up all over the building saying “Just because you work for the federal government doesn’t mean you can skip filing your taxes.”

    Bad enough they had to put the signs up, but one of the people she worked with laughed at it; “I haven’t filed taxes in eight years, I’m not starting now.” Very confident that not a damn thing would be done about it. From a guy in the IG office of a major federal agency. When Tax-Cheat Geithner and Tax-Cheat Rangel got special deals, all it did was reinforce that the IRS is about as ‘fair and unbiased’ as the KGB. And that was before the current “We are now a political club for the Democrats” garbage came out.

  26. I have a strategy that has served me well. I start out being soft-spoken, taking an “I’m in over my head, can you help me?”. 99 times out of 100, this works beautifully. It makes you the first halfway sane-seeming person they’ve felt with all day. When I was trying to get a “User and Occupancy License” from the Prince George’s County, MD, I was told by people who had reason to know that the average time was six months. I got through in two weeks.

    And then, when it becomes time to bring on the vitriol, the contrast is wonderfully effective.

  27. The Ogden Federal Building is ugly in a way that only 70’s-era government buildings can be ugly. (Not quite Brutalist, but maybe Brutalist-Incompetentalist.) The guard station is rickety, it’s as solidly made and professional looking as a Third World border crossing. And that Social Security waiting room can and does drain the life out of you.

    Large portions of Hell were photocopied from the Ogden Federal Building. “Well, shit,” Satan said. “I can’t do any better than that.

    1. The art style to which you refer is called “Lowest-bidder-ist”. It still exists, but is manifested more in construction times and quality of craftsmanship rather than outside appearance.

  28. I have a similar tale, but in my case it was to get my contractor badge to allow access to a Military base. I have had a badge for this base for over 20 years but last year they decided I also needed a original SS card to get my badge. I only had a metal card my parents had made for me when I was a kid. I had it tucked away in a safe, had not shown a SS card to anyone that I can remember in my 50 + years of existence. The lady at pass and ID very sternly exclaimed that that was not a original card and would not work. So getting my badge was delayed for about 4 weeks until the SS admin could send me my new card via the mail. What really got me was the form I had to fill out clearly states what is an acceptable form of ID. The form says a passport is acceptable, which I had, but someone somewhere said it had to be a original SS card. What was stated on the form was incorrect, apparently. So a form of ID with a picture and with security seals and RFID, is set aside for a piece a paper I could very easily create on any decent printer. I had last years badge, a drivers license and a Passport, but until I spent 4 hours in a SS admin office and filled out the form and showed the drivers license that was not acceptable to the Pass and ID lady no badge. Rulez is rulez.

  29. Well big fella…I’ll bet a dollar to a donut your taxes don’t cover that chick’s salary. Those idiots make top dollar and that is what I find even more infuriating…you would probably have to be taxed MORE to pay her salary…

    1. Unless Larry quit doing his own taxes and you’re his accountant, it may be wise to take to heart the old saw about “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and prove it”.

      1. Not trying to insult anyone Mike, and if some idiot wants to think I am a fool there is no harm in it.

        I am saying that a lot of these apparatchiks are grossly overpaid, especially the career cogs.

  30. Oh. My. God.

    Just read the entirety of both those columns and the responses… and got to this:

    “…you seem to forget the simple fact that the government creates money.”

    My head. has just… Exploded.

    What I tried to reply (three years too late, and likely futile anyway….

    “Hoe. Lee. Shee. Yite.

    You flaming idiot. You are a danger to people around you, and to society as a whole.

    Please deport yourself to North Korea immediately.

    Or drown yourself. For the Children.”

    1. I wonder if the person in question understands there’s a difference between ‘creates money’ and ‘prints money’. The first increases wealth, the second reduces it.

  31. When it is almost impossible to fire people, .gov managers do the next best thing and simply shuffle them around so that they are somebody else’s problem. They are fundamentally immune to the repercussions of their actions, and they know it. Then when you give these people some small measure of authority over other people’s lives, it shouldn’t come as a shock when they act like assholes.

    LOL…That is the exact truth…I’ve worked for an Unnamed Federal Agency for the last 18 years and watched completely worthless shoggoths act just like the above mentioned quote from your post. Some of these people don’t even speak English as their first language…WTF?

  32. My favorite part is that the same people that set up this labyrinth of IDs just to get a simple drivers license are the same ones screaming that asking someone to present a single photo ID at the voting booth is intolerable and ‘raaacccissssmmmmm!!!!!!!!’

  33. Know what I needed in AZ to get an AZ driver’s license? My VA driver’s license ;). Can’t remember what else (it was years ago, and my parents had come up from VA for my college graduation and brought all necessary documents to help me get officially registered as a resident of AZ, since I was staying and not moving back to VA), but that was basically it. Mainly it was old DL, and the title for the vehicle (since they were handing the title over to me). We spent more time in line than we did talking to the lady at the MDV.

    The thing that does piss me off about the AZ MDV is the cost of car registration. It’s based on the value of the vehicle. For a stinkin’ two year registration, I have to pay almost my monthly rent! It’s disgusting.

  34. So wait, big picture. Expired driver’s license and lost SS cards, and because you can’t keep track of your paperwork and expiration dates like everyone else does you are unhappy with pissy attitudes? Call a waaambulance. Pay attention to things. BTW, typically to be considered a “supervisor” it’s GS14 and above, but as an “experienced government contractor” you’d know that, wouldn’t you?

    1. Wow. 3 items from the Checklist in a single paragraph! Good work, Dan!

      First you went for Skim Until Offended and Make Shit Up, but my problem wasn’t with losing papers or standing in line, but rather having a petty scumbag threaten my wife with the physical force of being removed by guards for no good reason. But I suppose you’d be cool with that. I wouldn’t know. I’m not a huge pussy. 🙂

      Next you went for Dismiss, but since I’m not an anonymous internet pussy, my resume and job history is public. You don’t need to put “experienced government contractor” in quotes, because I was the finance manager for Utah’s Small Business of the Year, which was a military contractor. So no, I would only know that if it was true. Because I was an experienced contractor, I know that according to the General Schedule Supervisory Guide from the OPM that the title of supervisor is not predicated upon GS level but rather the job descritpion, duties, and requests related from the unit, with smaller units having supervisory titles at lower levels, and according to the GSSG the average Supervisory Administrative Specialist or Supervisory Human Resources Specialist is a GS-11 or GS-12. But hey, nice try, shit stain.

      So really, I’d say it is more of a fuckyoubulance than a waaambulance, but thanks for playing… a few weeks late, but the morons that attempt to troll my comments aren’t exactly known for their quick wit.

    2. Dan, do you know that you’re a troll? I’m serious. I’m very curious about whether trolls know their trolls. Do you get some kind of sense of accomplishment or is it a sense of empowerment? Is this your way of taking charge after a lifetime of being pushed around? OR… is it that Larry’s a nasty libertarian and so you have to attack him because he’s “Not a real author?” Curious minds want to know.

  35. If I recall correctly, my Social Security card (which I have not seen i years and is probably in the safe deposit box along with the passport) says quite specifically “NOT FOR PURPOSES OF IDENTIFICATION.”


  36. When I moved to AZ from MN in early 2008, one of my first tasks was to register my three vehicles, one being a 1970 Chevy Nova. The clerk processed the other two newer cars with no problem, but said that I had to go to a different room/garage at the back of the place to register the Nova. When I got back there the next clerk told me that I had to have something called a Level 2 Inspection to establish the VIN number of the Nova, since it wasn’t on a sticker on the door (I later learned said stickers weren’t required by Federal law until late in 1970, curiously enough). Mind you, I already had a clear MN title in my name, this wasn’t a sale but simply a state registration change. The clerk told me that I had an appointment 2 days hence, it was going to cost $25 and that if I “wanted to help them out” I could disassemble a whole bunch of intake parts I didn’t recognize before I got back there (and would the car be driveable with said parts removed? He wouldn’t tell me).

    Well, having none of my meager tool collection available (they were still en route on the moving truck), and lacking the mechanical knowledge to disassemble my vehicle to their satisfaction, I decided to show back up and make them earn their $25.

    I pulled up into the bay, checked in and turned over the keys, and then sat down to wait. Not five minutes later a fat, balding man in an ill-fitting sergeant’s uniform came wheezing into the waiting room along with the aforementioned clerk. The sergeant loudly asked which person in the room was me, then got in my face and barked “this officer told you to do something the other day, why didn’t you do it?” I answered “No sir, the clerk REQUESTED that I do something, and I declined”. The sergeant got even closer to my face and said “The next time one of us tells you to do something, you’d better get it done, is that clear?”

    I took one step back and quietly said “I’d like to speak to a supervisor right this minute”. When the supervisor came out I repeated what had happened and asked for a complaint incident form. The supervisor said something like “that’s not necessary”, and I replied “oh yes it is. Somewhere in this building is an incident form and I’m not leaving until it’s filled out. Do I have to call the police department to make that happen”?

    Ten minutes later, I was inspected, approved and released, and told to have a nice day. I was also told that “the clerk was having a bad day, and that I should be nice enough to cut him a break”.

    The form was indeed filled out and filed, but no doubt shitcanned at the first available opportunity.

  37. You need a better accountant… That is not meant as an insult. I think all authors are self employed right? Most small business accountants are garbage. When I was self employed I really didn’t pay that much in taxes and I had a very nice income. No it shouldn’t be this complex, but it is, so here is my guess at some of things your doing wrong…

    1. Form an S Corporation instead of an LLC or 1099. I think you can have your LLC pay you like an S Corporation. Go buy quickbooks. You want to pay your self a salary. Thing is you can pick your salary. You can pick something reasonable. So find some backlist author income and make that your salary. Luckily for you there are plenty of tax cheats out there that don’t pay themselves a salary, so the IRS is busy with them.

    You only have to pay social security and medicare tax on the w-2 salary you pay yourself. The rest you take out as a dividend pay out. You pay income tax, but not the double social securitry/medicare tax. The google guys pay themselves $1/year and take their income in stock. Sounds like ‘hey cool’ they are team players. Its done to avoid social security/medicare tax. This is a huge difference. your talking 1000s of dollars in lower taxes and its legal.

    2. 401k: these can be too expensive to set up. I use vanguard. They have a selection of VERY cheap vendors to choose from. Go with whatever is cheapest. You can make both an ’employee’ and employer contribution. Since you are both employee and employer. Max contribution combined is $46,000/year. Note that this is lower if you pay yourself less money to avoid social security tax. This is a big tax break.

    3. Spend money through company: Dude when your self employed farting is practically tax deductible. Since its a business expense. Driving anywhere, celll phone, you work from home ,so part of your mortgage is tax deductible (talk to an account about how much), desk, computer, electricity at home, paper, stamps, the cost of quickbooks. Cost of your accountant. I deducted an MBA. I even deducted driving to work. By rule your first work location is not deductible, but if I check email for 5 minutes a day at home, when I go somewhere that becomes my 2nd work location.

    Get a better accountant. Yeah all this stuff is legal. Dont over do #1. You have to pay yourself a reasonable salary. You can’t go ‘I am an intern so no salary for me’.

    Its hard to find good small business accountants. They all say they are good, but most are useless. Took me a while. if you dont have an accountant you need one.

    stop complaining and take ownership. Seriously your paying too much in taxes dude.

    1. Oh, this is gonna be good. I love it when someone comes in as the light of authority and shows some real ignorance in the process.

      [Grabs some popcorn] Anyone else want any?

    2. BWA HA HA HAW! 😀

      Oh shit. You’re serious. 🙂

      You have no idea what I did before I was a writer, do you? Let’s just say that I am pretty familiar with how business and tax works. I am an S Corp. I’m paid a salary. I deduct everything I’m legally able to (and having represented multiple companies through IRS audits, I’m very familiar with what is deductible). I pay what I am legally obligated to pay.

      Dude, seriously, save the lecture for somebody who isn’t a retired auditor. I pay a lot in taxes because I make a lot of money. I’m complaining because I’m an American so I still can (for now), and our tax rates are stupid.

        1. Probably not. And as a retired accountant, emphasis on the retired, I don’t have time to keep up on how the law changes, so I brought in a CPA for my taxes. For the record they are one of the best in the state, and the reason I know that is because I used them on the complex tax law stuff back when I was the finance manager for Utah’s small business of the year. 🙂

          Learn Quckbooks… Holy moly. I could teach Quickbooks.

          1. I have a firm. I’d recommend them in Utah for anybody who needs good CPA work done.

      1. This was not intended as a troll post. I have alot of friends who run their own businesses who paid way too much in taxes. Most of my friends didn’t know about the S-Corp pay yourself a shit salary to get your taxes down thing. I work in IT. I actually went to and google ‘h1b’ and grabbed their lower wages and paid myself what companies pay them (not an attack on immigrants, I have friends who are h1bs yeah they get screwed).

        I don’t agree with your politics, but everyone who doesn’t isn’t a stereotypically SJW. If I’m saying ‘I think your paying too much in taxes’, do you really think a troll would do that?

        I know you get attacked a lot. I did not intend this as an attack. I don’t read based on political ideology.

        I think I went through 3 accountants before I found a good one. I tihnk I probably paid $20,000-30,000 to much over several years before I found a quality accountant. Most of the ‘small business’ accountants were full of it.

        If I go to your book signing I guess Ill bring my returns and ask you to review.

        1. No offense taken. 🙂 I just thought it was funny because you were telling me about something I’d done professionally for 15 years for everything from a one person company to a Fortune 100 company.

          And please, please, please, don’t bring me your return… I hate tax returns. There’s a reason I pay somebody else to do mine for me now. When you’re an accountant, you don’t just do your own taxes, you end up helping all your friends and relatives do theirs for free too.

      2. dyingearth: Apparently not. With the Quickbooks comment, I figured it was either someone jerking Larry’s chain, or someone who was so completely clueless that they didn’t even bother to read much else here. I mean, Larry’s former occupation isn’t exactly secret around here.

        Larry: Don’t blame you there. I just found it hysterical that some guy on the internet was going to tell you how to structure your finances. ROFL!

        Guess: Do yourself a favor. Next time you pop up on someone’s blog where they’re bitching about something? Do a little research first before you open your big trap. You’ll save yourself some embarrassment in the long run. Especially since there are tons of posts here where he talks about having been an accountant.

        Somehow though, I don’t think he’ll be interested in looking at your returns. Notice he said “retired”?

      3. the tax return thing was a joke… I just happened to show up on the one SF writer who was a retired accountant. The odds of that happening are pretty low.

        1. several years ago I was on a panel once with Dave Wolverton, James Dashner, and John Brown. It was called “how to be a published writer”. Dashner said he’d just quit his day job as an accountant. I say, “no way, I’m an accountant!” Then John Brown says “I used to be an accountant”, and Dave Wolverton “I was an accountant like 30 years ago!” So we just told the audience, there you go. The secret to being a published author is be an accountant.

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