State Tax Tweak Show

An Assortment Of Income Tax Oddities

1040 FormThey say that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  So what do you do when life gives you an IRS 1040?  Make IRS 1040-ade?  I tried, and there’s no such thing, goddammit!

Up ’til a month ago, I felt the same way about state taxes.  Then, whilst I drifted upon the stupefying boilerplate sea of California’s 540 form, the phrases “false imprisonment” and “Ottoman Turkish Empire” bubbled to the surface.  What were they doing there?

It turns out that each state tweaks the tax code – by adjusting the Federal rules with their own credits and deductions – to help the less fortunate and foster positive behavior, amongst other reasons.  By California law, income specifically excludes compensation for false imprisonment and reparations to those oppressed by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923.  Whoa.

Intrigued, I combed the other states’ 2009-tax-year forms for such oddities – and found dozens!  Please, take a look at the best of them below!  For your convenience, I’ve linked the excerpts back to the source.  Each appears as it did originally, no Photoshopping.

Use these as an antivenom for the boredom-breeding bite of the IRS 1040!

It Should Be This Way Everywhere

Let’s start with the good stuff.  You can’t go wrong with tax-free 100-year-olds; credits for premarital counseling ($50) and driver education ($150); and deductible recycling, tree maintenance, and that m-o-n-e-y call to the crime hotline:

New Mexico: Tax-Free Centenarian
South Carolina: Premarital Counseling Credit
CA Recycling
Georgia: Driver Education Credit
California: Reward From A Crime Hotline
Hawaii: Exceptional Tree Deduction

Mixed Blessings

Credits and deductions that you never want to be able to claim for yourself:

New York: Organ Donation Expenses
CA Ottoman-Turkish Oppression
CA False Imprisonment
Oregon: Loss Of Use Of Limbs

Uh, gift horse, don’t take this the wrong way, but fifty bucks for two inoperative limbs?  Isn’t that kinda like tipping the waitress a penny?

Not From Around Here

Beware athletes from elsewhere, commuters to Yonkers, and the revenue-annihilating menace of the Nonresident Entertainer:

Louisiana: Nonresident Professional Athlete
New York: Yonkers Nonresident Income
Missouri: Non-Resident Entertainer


And finally, the glorious byproducts of caring, equitable, detail-oriented government, 100-percent-free of graft and cronyism:

Utah: Farm Hand Tools
Oklahoma: Space Vehicle Provider
South Carolina: Venison For Charity
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