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Better off dead

It is said that the only two sure things in life are death and taxes. To which I would add a third certainty: that the government will use your death as an excuse to increase your taxes. Here’s an installment of “Ask The Tax Man” that might help your heirs keep some of your cash when you keel over.

Q: My ungrateful son just informed me that 2010 is a great year to die. How so?

A: If you die in 2010 your child will inherit 100 percent of your estate whereas if you wait to die until 2011 the government will grab 55 percent of it. I’d watch my back if I were you. Accidents will happen, you know what I mean?

Q: Doesn’t this create an incentive for people to die this year?

A: Of course. Thousands of wealthy people on life support will be unplugged this year by their kids, suicide hot lines will heat up, charities will spring up to find a cure for metabolism, and Oprah will do a show on the best ways to off yourself.

Q: I’m 92 years old female worth in excess of 100 million dollars that my four husbands worked very hard to amass. I would like to leave my spoiled stepkids all my money but I don’t believe in suicide. Isn’t there some way around this ridiculous rule?

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A: Start living dangerously. Take up skydiving, trade in your Rolls for a murder-cycle, start smoking four packs of cigarettes a day and don’t get a flu shot. In the past I would have suggested committing a crime so bad that you’d end up sharing a prison cell with Dr. Kervorkian, but I think he’s out on bail now. Besides, if your crime wasn’t heinous enough you could just end up doing 500 hours of community service.

Q: I love my kids but I worry that all the money in my estate is just too tempting. Are there any precautions I should take?

A: Absolutely. Trade in your Chihuahua for a bomb sniffing dog. Have your butler, maid or hired hand start your car for you, and stay away from family gatherings. Don’t eat cookies sent to you in the mail, don’t let your children pick your doctors for you, don’t have any elective surgeries, and hire a bodyguard immediately.

Q: 55 percent! To heck with growing old gracefully! What’s the best way to die now?

A: Normally I don’t think much of dying but in this case there’s something to be said for it. I’d suggest going to meet Saint Peter with a smile on your face by dying at the hands of a jealous spouse.

Q: Shame on you for making fun of a ridiculous situation. This isn’t funny!

A: I agree. There’s nothing funny about working all your life to save up something for your kids and then having to sell the ranch just to pay death taxes. I know you can’t take it with you but at least you ought to be able to give it to your kids. Just think, you worked all those years just to pay outlandish pensions for politicians, build bridges to nowhere, and buy preserves for fairy shrimp and three legged salamanders.

Q: Surely Congress will fix this idiotic law. Do you expect them to take action before the end of this year?

A: I sure do. I expect them to keep the death taxes at 55 percent in 2011, EXCEPT for all government employees and Congressmen who will, of course, be exempt.

Q: You’re passing out lots of advice. Are you a CPA?

A: No, but I am a CPA-LITE… Citizen Paying A Lot In Taxes Endlessly.

Q: I’m not about to kill myself just to make my spoiled kids rich. But isn’t there something else I can do to make sure the government doesn’t get all my money?

A: Start living extravagantly now so that when you go on your last journey there won’t be anything left to pack. Pay your last income taxes with a check that bounces, and since breathing produces carbon dioxide, and you won’t be breathing any more, sell your carbon credits to Al Gore before you go.

It is said that the only two sure things in life are death and taxes. To which I would add a third certainty: that the government will use your death as an excuse to increase your taxes. Here’s an installment of “Ask The Tax Man” that might help your heirs keep some of your cash when you keel over.

Q: My ungrateful son just informed me that 2010 is a great year to die. How so?

A: If you die in 2010 your child will inherit 100 percent of your estate whereas if you wait to die until 2011 the government will grab 55 percent of it. I’d watch my back if I were you. Accidents will happen, you know what I mean?

Q: Doesn’t this create an incentive for people to die this year?

A: Of course. Thousands of wealthy people on life support will be unplugged this year by their kids, suicide hot lines will heat up, charities will spring up to find a cure for metabolism, and Oprah will do a show on the best ways to off yourself.

Q: I’m 92 years old female worth in excess of 100 million dollars that my four husbands worked very hard to amass. I would like to leave my spoiled stepkids all my money but I don’t believe in suicide. Isn’t there some way around this ridiculous rule?

A: Start living dangerously. Take up skydiving, trade in your Rolls for a murder-cycle, start smoking four packs of cigarettes a day and don’t get a flu shot. In the past I would have suggested committing a crime so bad that you’d end up sharing a prison cell with Dr. Kervorkian, but I think he’s out on bail now. Besides, if your crime wasn’t heinous enough you could just end up doing 500 hours of community service.

Q: I love my kids but I worry that all the money in my estate is just too tempting. Are there any precautions I should take?

A: Absolutely. Trade in your Chihuahua for a bomb sniffing dog. Have your butler, maid or hired hand start your car for you, and stay away from family gatherings. Don’t eat cookies sent to you in the mail, don’t let your children pick your doctors for you, don’t have any elective surgeries, and hire a bodyguard immediately.

Q: 55 percent! To heck with growing old gracefully! What’s the best way to die now?

A: Normally I don’t think much of dying but in this case there’s something to be said for it. I’d suggest going to meet Saint Peter with a smile on your face by dying at the hands of a jealous spouse.

Q: Shame on you for making fun of a ridiculous situation. This isn’t funny!

A: I agree. There’s nothing funny about working all your life to save up something for your kids and then having to sell the ranch just to pay death taxes. I know you can’t take it with you but at least you ought to be able to give it to your kids. Just think, you worked all those years just to pay outlandish pensions for politicians, build bridges to nowhere, and buy preserves for fairy shrimp and three legged salamanders.

Q: Surely Congress will fix this idiotic law. Do you expect them to take action before the end of this year?

A: I sure do. I expect them to keep the death taxes at 55 percent in 2011, EXCEPT for all government employees and Congressmen who will, of course, be exempt.

Q: You’re passing out lots of advice. Are you a CPA?

A: No, but I am a CPA-LITE… Citizen Paying A Lot In Taxes Endlessly.

Q: I’m not about to kill myself just to make my spoiled kids rich. But isn’t there something else I can do to make sure the government doesn’t get all my money?

A: Start living extravagantly now so that when you go on your last journey there won’t be anything left to pack. Pay your last income taxes with a check that bounces, and since breathing produces carbon dioxide, and you won’t be breathing any more, sell your carbon credits to Al Gore before you go.

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