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Opinion: Tax season gearing up

If your mailbox looks anything like mine, you are getting a flurry of paperwork in preparation for our annual tribute to the Infernal Revenue Service. The credit card companies once had a secret trap door allowing users to claim the interest paid on the cards as a tax deduction. This system went the way of the buffalo in the 1986 Tax Reform Act according to Google. Interest paid on personal expenses is no longer tax deductible as opposed to interest paid on business expenses, which is.

I find it fascinating that the additional money we pay to the people who extend us credit is called interest. I have never been even remotely interested in paying extra for money lent me.

Is it any wonder people would be tempted to credit every expense incurred as a business cost. While categorizing personal expenditures as business costs may sound like a good way to cheat the government, I fear an IRS audit will ultimately turn up the discrepancy.

I once had a lawyer friend who had to serve time in jail for not paying his income tax. When I called it income tax evasion, he sternly corrected me. Apparently, tax evasion is a felony whereas not paying ones income tax was a misdemeanor. He served a few months in county jail as opposed to more than a year in state prison.

Being on the inside of a cell looking out for just a few dollars is not worth the aggravation. I have often wondered just how much money would need to be involved to make it worth risking one’s freedom.

Occasionally a story will hit the news about someone finding a large sum of cash and turning it over to authorities. I often wonder how many people find money and instead of turning it in, they make plans to relocate. Maybe to a country without an extradition treaty.

My luck, if I found a bucket of cash somewhere, whoever it belonged to would know I found it and come after me. Spending a lifetime looking over one’s shoulder for a person whose money I have enjoyed isn’t my idea of a good time.

One night driving into town from our home in Dixieland, we spotted a leather valise on an off-ramp of State Route 99. It was an old fashioned suitcase of the type my brother in the army called an AWOL bag.

It had two leather handles and buckle closure. When the case opened, it became a square satchel. We stopped and picked it up, who wouldn’t? We went to my mom’s house to investigate our find in private. On the way, we speculated on what might be inside the bag. What if it was filled with cash and drugs? What if it belonged to a jewel thief and full of diamonds and gold? The possibilities seemed endless and I have always had a vivid imagination.

It had baby clothes inside without a name, personal papers or identification of any kind. We took it to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office since we found it in the county. I never knew if anyone had come looking for their lost luggage.

Ethics is what you do when no one is watching. I’m glad ours weren’t tested over a bag filled with treasure.

Enjoy Super Bowl 53. Remember the Howard 4-H Club is serving breakfast in Van Allen Hall at the Madera Fairgrounds. Served Sunday, 8 to 11 a.m. with take-out available. Dine on sausage, eggs, pancakes, and beverages. Tickets are $7 adults and $5 for children 12 and younger.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

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Readers, may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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