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Today I’m deep in taxes as opposed to last year at this time when I was in Texas. We flew to Dallas to visit my brother  and his wife who were travelling with the Kelly Miller Circus. At the age when some head for the rocking  chair or the golf course, my brother bought a circus.

This makes a little more sense if you know that my half -brother is John Ringling North II. His goal is to keep the one ring tent circus alive for children of all ages, especially himself. The circus trucks proclaim, “Kelly Miller Circus, John Ringling North II, Proprietor. ”  So far the circus is alive and well and John is having one heck of a good time. Last year we met him in Frisco, Texas. We had a fun watching every performance, laughing hysterically every time the llama dressed as Uncle Sam entered the ring. My sister-in-law joins the dog and llama act whenever she is with the circus. She is a veteran horse and dog trainer, now llama proficient.

But back to the taxes. I owe my sanity to Free File Fillable Forms. However, there were moments today when the computer stalled and “sorry, we are updating, try again in a few minutes” scrolled across the top of my screen.I said some less than charitable things to the tax service, but I have confidence the end is in sight.

Not many of my friends do their own taxes, but I always have. First of all, gathering all the information is the hard part and if I hired a preparer I would have to do that anyway and make my cryptic notes legible for a total stranger. Then there is the motivation issue. No one is more interested in saving us money than us. But each year, as I muddle through, I think there has to be a better answer to our taxation system. I was gratified to learn that there is now a standard deduction for home office based on the square footage, much better than having to figure the percentage of utilities etc. But it seemed for every simplification, there were dozens of new forms and worksheets added.

I think a universal sales tax would be much better. But the tax preparers, tax attorneys etc would be out of a job, not to mention the IRS. And bureaucracy once spawned is impossible to kill.

When I was in college, I once received a very negative letter from my mother. Reeling under the impact, I wondered what I had done to cause this when the last line provided a clue. She had spent the entire day ironing and working on taxes.

So I’d rather be in Texas….

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