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The IRS sent me a letter last Friday.  They audited my return and
denied two of my dependent deductions!  I thought you might like to
read my response which, while more devastating than any militia plot,
is a kinder and gentler way of striking fear into the heart of

Dear Sirs:

I am responding to your letter denying the deduction for two of the
three dependents I claimed on my 1994 Federal Income Tax return.  Thank
you.  I have questioned whether these are my children or not for years.
They are evil and expensive.

It's only fair that since they are minors and not my responsibility
that the government (who, evidently, is now taxing me more to care for
these waifs) knows something about them and what to expect over the
next year. You may apply next year to reassign them to me and reinstate
the deduction.  This year they are yours!

The oldest, Kristen, is now 17.  She is brilliant.  Ask her!  I suggest
you put her to work in your office where she can answer peoples
questions about their returns.  While she has had no formal training,
it has not seemed to hamper her knowledge of any other subject you can
name.  Taxes should be a breeze.  Next year she is going to college.  I
think it's wonderful that you will now be responsible for that little
expense.  While you mull that over, keep in mind she has a truck. It
doesn't run at the moment so you have the immediate decision of
appropriating some Department of Defense funds to fix the vehicle or
getting up early to drive her to school.  Kristen also has a boyfriend.
Oh joy.  While she possesses all the wisdom of the universe, her
alleged mother and I have felt it best to occasionally remind her of
the virtues of abstinence, and in the face of overwhelming passion,
safe sex.  This is always uncomfortable and I'm quite relieved you will
be handling it in the future.  May I suggest you reinstate Joycelyn
Elders who had a rather good handle on the problem.

Patrick is 14.  I've had my suspicions about this one.  His eyes are a
little to close together for normal people.  He may be a tax examiner
himself someday if you don't incarcerate him first.  In February I was
rudely awakened at three in the morning by a police officer who was
bringing Pat home.  He and his friends were TP'ing houses.  In the
future would you like him delivered to the local IRS office or sent
directly to Ogden, UT?  Kids at 14 will do almost anything on a dare.
His hair is purple.  Permanent dye, temporary dye, what's the big deal?
Learn to deal with it.  You'll have plenty of time since he is sitting
out a few days of school after instigating a food fight.  I'll take
care of filing your phone number with the vice principal.  Oh yes, he,
and all his friends, have raging hormones.  This is the house of
testosterone and it will be much more peaceful when he lives in your
home.  DO NOT leave any of them unsupervised with girls, explosives,
inflammables, inflatables, vehicles or telephones.  (I'm sure you'll
find the telephones a source of unimaginable amusement, be sure to lock
out the 900 and 976 numbers!)

Heather is an alien.  She slid through a time warp and appeared quite
by magic one year.  I'm sure this one is yours.  She is 10, going on
21. She came from a bad trip in the sixties.  She wears tie-dyed
clothes, beads, sandals and hair that looks like Tiny Tim's. 
Fortunately you will be raising my taxes to help you offset the pinch
of her remedial reading courses.  Hooked on Phonics is expensive so the
schools dropped it.  Good news!  You can buy it yourself for half the
amount of the deduction you are denying!  It's quite obvious we were
terrible parents (ask the other two) so they have "helped" raise this
one to a new level of terror.  She cannot speak English.  Most people
under twenty understand the curious patois she fashioned out of valley
girl/boys in the hood/reggae/yuppie/political doublespeak.  I don't. 
The school sends her to a speech pathologist who has her roll her R's. 
It added a refreshing Mexican/Irish touch to her voice.  She wears hats
backwards, pants baggy and wants one of her ears pierced four more
times.  There is a fascination with tattoos that worries me but I'm
sure you can handle it.  Bring a truck when you come to get her, she
sort of "nests" in her room and I think it would be easier to move the
entire thing than find out what it's really made of.

You denied two of the three deductions so I guess it's only fair you
get to pick which two you will take.  I prefer you take the two
youngest, I still go bankrupt with Kristen's college expense but then
I'm free!  If you take the two oldest at least I have time for
counseling before Heather becomes a teenager.  If  you take the two
girls I won't feel so bad about putting Patrick in a military academy. 
Please let me know of your decision as soon as possible as I have
already increased the withholding on my W4 to cover the $395 in
additional tax and made a down payment on an airplane.

Yours Truly,