Friday, April 11, 2014

The 2013 Tax Year Tax Dirge: Don’t Fine Me, Bro!

Or, All I really want to do….is claim you as a dependent.

The reason for the tax dirge:

The tax dirge is perfect music for seeking lost bits of paper, Googling tax code minutiae (and isn’t it all minutiae?)…and for holding your breath until your accountant calls and says you're getting a refund, or a bigger refund than expected....or until you enter all the numbers into Turbo Tax and the amount "overpaid" comes up positive.  On the other hand, it's good music to drown your sorrows when you see there is no way in H-E Double toothpicks you're getting a fact, you may have to sell your house to pay your bill!!

To be honest, many times the songs in the annual playlist known as the Tax Dirge aren't evocative of those feelings viz their music or lyrics; many times the title just, well, fits.

As usual, the Dirge features songs of all or most song types.  This one includes reggae, hip-hop, opera, 70s punk, folk and country.  And 2014 sees the debut of Mr. Marshall Mathers on the Dirge with not 1 but 2 selections from "The Eminem Show".

We end as usual with the Mother of All Tax Dirge Songs, "Taxman", written and performed mostly by George Harrison....the Grumpy Beatle[1].  If you're singing along to the finale this year, and wondering what to put in place of the descant, "Uh-uh, Mr. Wilson; Uh-uh, Mr. Heath", then "Uh-uh, Mr. Boehner, Uh-uh, Mr. O" works pretty good.  Unless you're Canadian, in which case you have a couple of weeks to figure out how to fit Messrs. Harper and Mulcair in the song in a rhythmic and clever way, eh.

Happy dirging, taxpayers!

Song # 1:  All of this and Nothing.
 Artist:  The Psychedelic Furs. 
Why?  All this work, nothing to show for it.

Song #2:  American Pie. 
Artist: Don McLean.
 Why?  Well, I understand you want a piece of the pie.  But I make the pie.  Can’t I keep some for myself?

Song #3:  Are you Trying to Be Funny? 
Artist:  Everything But the Girl. 
Why?  This is what the IRS man said after I told him I hadn’t been to a tea party rally in months, seriously.

Song #4:  Can’t Buy Me Love    
Artist: The Beatles (mostly Paul McCartney)
Why?  Because you can’t buy me love, but if you pay my tax bill I’ll gladly shack up with you.

Song #5:  What Child is This (greensleeves)
 Artist: everyone and his brother. 
Why? What child is this, and can I claim him as a dependent?  Son! Meet your MAMA!  But only till December 31.

Song #6:  Folsum Prison Blues
Artist:  Johnny Cash. 
Why?  Because ignorance of the tax code won’t prevent you from being charged with a felony.  Now just might be the time to get into character  

Song #7:  Cleaning’ Out My Closet 
Artist:  Eminem 
Why?  “I know those receipts are here somewhere!”

Song #8:  J’ai Bû   
Artist:  Charles Aznavour    
Why? This translates as “I drank.”  And drank, and drank, and drank…

Song #9:  Love Chooses You.   
Artist:  Laurie Lewis.
 Why? Because love chooses you because you’re special.  The IRS is much less discriminating.

Song #10:  Mama Tried          
Artist:  Merle Haggard. 
Why?  Mama tried, but she finally had to sell us to pay her taxes. 

Song #11:  If I Had a Rocket Launcher 
Artist:  Bruce Cockburn.

Song #12:  My Dad’s Gone Crazy  
Artist:  Eminem. 
Why?  He was fine until he tried to sign up at…….

Song #13:  It’s Now or Never      
Artist:  Elvis Presley  
Why?  These figures aren’t gonna add & subtract themselves!

Song #14:  Could You Be Loved? 
Artist:  Bob Marley
 Why?  “Could you be loved?” “Not at this time of year!  Piss off!”

Song #15:  Cleansed By Fire    
Artist:  Alice Cooper  
Why?  Well, because I like Alice Cooper's Christian stuff, but I’m also thinking….if there are no W2s, there was no income, right?

Song #15:  Crumbs From Your Table    
Artist:  U2   
Why?  Please….I just paid my taxes and only have 3 cents left.

Song #16:  Don’t Let Us Get Sick        
Artist:  Warren Zevon   
Why?  Apparently if we miss more work, the nation’s entire infrastructure will collapse.

Song #17:  Nessun Dormo (“None Shall Sleep”)   
Artist: [insert favorite tenor’s name here]  From Turandot, by Puccini
Why?  Insomnia, thine name ist IRS.

Song #18:  Taxman   
Artist:  The Beatles (mostly George)
 Why?  Get a load of these lyrics:

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me[2]
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

Don't ask me what I want it for
( “Ah ah, Mr. Wilson[3]…..)
If you don't want to pay some more
(“Ah ah, Mr. Heath”[4])
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me.

Yup, grumpy poetry.  Sheer grumpy poetry. 

[1] I just made that up.  I’m almost certain that George was never known as “The Grumpy Beatle”.  But he definitely was grumpy when he wrote “Taxman”
[2] No wonder George was grumpy.  This was literally the tax bracket the Beatles found themselves in in 1966:  paying 95% to a government in a country that 10 years later found itself boycotted by the Soviet Union…because their goods were too shoddy and took too long to arrive.  That’s really bad, boys and girls. 
[3] Harold Wilson, Prime Minister (Labour Party)
[4] Edward Heath, leader of the opposition---the Conservative, or Tory, party.

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