Thursday, February 7, 2013

It's income tax time

Every year at this time I try to determine what my income tax bill would be if we were allowed to deduct what we spent for wine during the year.

Last year, I spent almost $4,000 on wine. If I were an influential wine writer, that figure might mean very little as a percentage of my income. As it is, I am not influential nor do I have an income worth flaunting. That $4000 means a lot to me, which is why I daydream over a wine deduction on my tax returns.

Thanks to resveratrol, anthrocyanins (did I spell that correctly?), polyphenols, and whatever else is in there, wine should be considered a medical expense, but it should not be handled on the Schedule A Itemized Deductions. That schedule is where the IRS makes life difficult, with formulas and worksheets to follow in order to figure out how much of the actual money spent will wind up becoming a deductible amount. So often, I follow the worksheet only to find that I spent an hour serpentining from Schedule A, to Form 1040, to Publication this or Publication that, to a tax information booklet so-and-so, only to discover that I can't take the deduction. This is the kind of gyration that makes the Form 1040 Standard Deduction valuable only to those with an income worth defending with an automatic weapon, and not being an influential wine writer, I have yet to reach that income level.

I don't like it that the standard deduction for medical payments throughout the year is subject to a worksheet. The money is gone, all of it, including the $4000 for wine; why is only part of it considered spent?

The medical/wine deduction should be a dollar-for-dollar credit that goes on the first page of the Form 1040 (in fact, there should be only one page for tax returns, but that's a whole separate conversation that comes up only around election time).

You guessed it: I've been doing my tax returns.

As an aside: I have changed entry to this blog from allowing anyone to allowing only those who  register. The people who occupy space with amoebas, the spammers, have made me do it. The Internet really is a cesspool.


  1. With the mention of taxes you just sucked all the joy out of a glass of Tempranillo I had, to that moment, been enjoying.

  2. Ah, but think of all the joyful things your tax money funds...okay, just keep trying to think of one; it will come.

  3. I'm drawing a total blank...a hint, please.

  4. Let me give it some thought. I'll get back to you as soon as I hit on something, but don't wait up for me.