The Observer – May 2017

By Jim Feldman

Some thoughts about Income taxes.

Well, it’s May, a very nice relaxing month. One of the best things about it is that it isn’t April with its demanding income tax deadlines. I use an online income tax service which does the job for me very well, but it requires a lot of concentration.

For that reason, I have my son-in-law, who has a Ph.D. in math, go over it once I have completed the inputs. He usually finds several errors and helps me correct them.

A few years ago I made a major mistake that resulted in a good sized underpayment. I sent the additional money to the IRS. When I told my son-in-law about it, he checked my return, found an error and suggested that I do an amended return.

I got the amended return form but couldn’t understand the instructions. Matt came to my rescue, filled out the form for me and the IRS returned my money.

A lot of Riderwood residents have tax preparers whom they pay to do their taxes, and many others use the services of fellow resident volunteers, such as Harry Weil, to help them at no charge, a wonderful public service.

The reason I do my own, with the help of an inexpensive online service, is that I don’t like the idea of having to pay someone to do a job that should be simple enough for an ordinary person to do.

I saw an article in the newspaper recently that suggested the IRS figure out income taxes using the information they get about sources of income (they check your declarations of income against these reports) and send a bill along with a copy of the return so you could check it out for accuracy. That would be OK with me.

How would you like it if Riderwood decided to take a cue from the IRS and instead of sending you a monthly statement asked you to fill out a form once a year listing everything you paid for and assessed a penalty if you forgot to list something?

In my mind, that is what the U. S. government is asking us to do. Let me know your thoughts on this subject.

Observer says: Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.


Send brief anecdotes or letters to, or put a note in my cubby, VP 118, Village Square.











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