Taxes are due on April 18, but there’s no need to stress. We’re here to share some little-known tax hacks that will make paying Uncle Sam easier.
1) You can deduct the portion of your home used for worrying about taxes. Multiply the square footage of the space by the proportion of your year you spent worrying, and keep in mind that this deduction is reserved for those worrying about taxes, not thinking about them in general. For example, simply reading this list is not sufficient. Be honest: are you anxious? If not, avoid the deduction or risk an audit.
2) If someone asks to see your tax returns, just tell them you can’t show them because you’re being audited. This works especially well on IRS agents—who at first will tell you that, “Uh, yeah, I’m the one auditing you and that’s why I’m here,” but will soon become exasperated and leave you alone.
3) Rich people who feel guilty about their wealth are entitled to the UEPTC, or the Unearned Privilege Tax Credit, and may pay taxes only on the amount of income they truly, in their heart of hearts, feel they deserve. If you plan to claim the UEPTC, please know that you’ll be required to provide a signed, notarized affidavit of guilt, along with a passport-size photograph of yourself frowning while thinking of those who don’t have as much as you.
4) If you build a time machine and go back to 1913, where you prove the Sixteenth Amendment was never properly ratified, you can get out of paying your income taxes. On the other hand, if you invented a time machine, you could also just go back and place a bet on the 2016 Cubs to win the World Series—or even patent and sell the time machine, which would be quite valuable.
5) Have you ever woken up next to someone and said “blech!”? Good news: the IRS will refund 500 of your tax dollars if you had sex with someone uglier than you this year. The only caveats: make sure you’re being objective, as the government rejects thousands of claims from overconfident people every year. And this is a one-time-only benefit, so don’t go trying to beat the system by marrying someone ugly. Unless you’re in love, in which case we’re very happy for you.
6) Speaking of love, those who are happy—a small and shrinking subset of the American population—must pay the EHP, or Excessive Happiness Penalty. This extra, tiny one-percent surcharge goes into a fund that sends flowers and puppy videos to miserable people, along with links to schadenfreude-inducing news stories. If you’re happy, pay your fair share.
7) Health-insurance premiums are tax-deductible, and if you simply go without health insurance you can save years of income taxes by dying prematurely.
8) Have you squandered your time and potential? Those are things you’ll never get back. On form Filings Upon Culminated Unused Potential (FUCUP), write a five-paragraph essay about the precious life you’ve allowed to slip away this year. The government won’t send a refund check, but they will mail you a signed letter from the president, making fun of you. It ends: “I’m the president—what have you done with your life?” What a fun keepsake!
9) Are you a teacher who has to buy your own supplies for the classroom? If so, dear Lord, what are our nation’s spending priorities?
10) Continuing on the education theme, you can deduct tuition in some cases, Mark, but no amount of instruction is going to turn you into a screenwriter.
11) Tax nerds are going to love this one. Every year, the IRS makes a secret, one-year-only tax law. Only a few officials know what it is, and the only copy is held under lock and key in a heavily guarded Washington, DC building. Make sure you follow this law, or you could face a fine of up to $100,000 and up to ten years in prison.