From The Archives: March 2010

Caution: Hard Hat Area

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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.

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