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From the desk of Dora DePaoli, Staff writer: The taxing season

April 06, 2001

With April 15 falling on a Sunday there is probably some rejoicing for procrastinators. Those who tend to put off things can wait until April 16 to mail their income tax forms.

I heard an accountant say he loves April 15. Not only is much of the work done by then, but another year of the statute of limitations has expired unless there is some evidence of fraud. All tax preparers work long hours for several months leading up to the 15th. Those I am acquainted with usually take a few days off to recuperate after the deadline.

My daughter Mary, who is in the number-crunching business, has said people with creative deductions should remember not to be too greedy. She added the old saying: "Pigs get fat — hogs get slaughtered."

Years ago when she started in a public accounting firm she had one client bring in his receipts in two large shopping bags. Another one brought in four little kid-type suitcases filled with receipts.

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"Every bill he paid in the past year was there," Mary said. "I think he thought his life was one big deduction."

To ease the strain of working six days a week during tax season, Mary and the accountant she shared the office with took turns bringing in lunch on Saturdays. It became "quite competitive," she said. Mary would pick up delicacies at the trendy Irvine Ranch Market on the way to work.

"The rest of the staff would wait around until we finished and then descend on the leftovers like vultures," Mary said.

A cousin sent me a couple of IRS things via e-mail: "When you do a good deed, get a receipt, in case heaven is like the IRS."

A BAR BET

The local bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that it offered a standing $1,000 bet.

The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money.

Many people had tried over time (weight-lifters, longshoremen, etc.), but nobody could do it.

One day this scrawny little man came in, wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit and said in a tiny, squeaky voice, "I'd like to try the bet."

After the laughter had died down, the bartender said OK, grabbed a lemon, and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man. But the crowd's laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and six drops fell into the glass.

As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1,000, and asked the little man, "What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weightlifter or what?"

The man replied, "No, I just work for the IRS."

One of my son-in-laws spotted this bumper sticker:

IRS: We've got what it takes to get what you've got!

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