Ask Captain Codehead – Free tax advice worth every penny you paid for it.

by Greg Yoder

DEAR CAPTAIN CODEHEAD: I prepared my own return last year, and now I’m being audited. The IRS agent says that I owe $60,000. I want to offer him a bribe instead, but I’m afraid it might not be a good idea. What should I do? – Examined

DEAR EXAMINED: Bribery is illegal – and more importantly, non-deductible – and Captain Codehead does not condone it! However Internal Revenue Code §212 does allow a deduction for any “ordinary and necessary expenses paid … in connection with the determination, collection, or refund of any tax.” So instead of “what will it cost to make this problem go away?” I suggest, “I’d like to pay you this to help determine my correct tax liability.”

And if that doesn’t work, try to get sent to a federal prison out of state: they’re nicer than state lock-ups (I mean, I’ve heard), and in most cases they’re far enough away for you to deduct moving expenses.

DEAR CAPTAIN CODEHEAD: My CPA says I owe $2,500 with my return this year, but I really want a refund. What should I do? – Overtaxed

DEAR OVERTAXED: Your CPA is a lunkhead. Benjamin Franklin said that there are only two things certain in this life: death and taxes. The logical conclusion of that statement is that as long as you’re alive, you shouldn’t have to pay any taxes. Any CPA who doesn’t know better than to disagree with a guy who would fly a kite in a thunderstorm is a CPA who doesn’t deserve your business. I hate to get too technical in this column, but here’s exactly what you should tell him to do: check box d on line 73 of your 1040 (other credits) and write BFC (Benjamin Franklin Credit) in the space provided, then in line 73, he should put the same amount that’s on line 63 (total tax). That way, if you were somehow unlucky enough to have any tax payments or withholding, you’ll get it all back. If he hesitates, remind him that Ben was never once audited.

DEAR CAPTAIN CODEHEAD: My CPA is the best accountant ever, and he always does a great job. In the past, I’ve done what everyone does and tipped him 20% of my refund, but that just seems so impersonal. Do you have any idea what he might like instead of money? – Grateful

You are so right. There’s nothing CPAs hate more than money: that’s why we spend all our time telling other people what to do with theirs. Fortunately, I know exactly what to give your tax guy to make him feel appreciated: the audiobook version of the Winter 2016 edition of The Complete Internal Revenue Code. He probably has one of the older editions – narrated by members of the Joint Committee on Taxation – but the new edition is read by none other than Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. I tell you, I could listen to her read Section 401 all day (which, coincidentally, is about how long it takes). Give him that on April 18th and watch how he reacts. Those are tears of joy!