Well, Mr. and Ms. Average Working Person, it's tax time again, and you will be pleased to learn that this year, thanks to Tax Reform, we have a COMPLETELY NEW SET OF RULES. NOTHING will be the same, under Tax Reform. Even your NAME will be different. By now the Internal Revenue Service (Official Motto: "We Know You Are Lying") should have sent you Form 102934834200-498HAHAHA- 83409, which explains how to calculate your Tax Reform Name, using a formula based on one originally developed for Shirley Ellis' 1964 hit song, "The Name Game." My Tax Reform name is: Dave Dave Bo Bave, Banana Fanna Fo Fave, Fee Fie Mo Mave, 098098-V868989. I am required to use it in all correspondence with IRS representatives, living or dead.

SPECIAL TAX TIP: If you have not yet received Form 102934834200-498HAHAHA- 83409, you need to file Form 99-203BAZOO-123-012313, "Request for Replacement for Form 102934834200-498HAHAHA- 83409," which you may obtain simply by going to any one of the two convenient nationwide Taxpayer Assistance Centers and standing in line long enough for intelligent life to evolve from spit.

How many other major changes will result from Tax Reform? We can only estimate, of course, but scientists now tell us that the Tax Code undergoes several hundred major changes EVERY SECOND. This is why it is so difficult to defeat the IRS in court:

YOUR LAWYER (picking up a volume of the Tax Code): And so, your honor, we have shown that my client did in fact comply with Regulation 1301.393, which states, and I quote ... My God!

(As the court looks on in horror, the Tax Code starts to mutate and grow; within seconds, it has enveloped your lawyer's arm, Rolex and all, the way a Doberman pinscher envelopes a Milk Bone Flavor Snack.)

YOUR LAWYER: No! Help meeeeeeeee ...

IRS LAWYER (played by Vincent Price): Perhaps YOUR HONOR would care to examine the relevant portion of the code?

JUDGE: No! Please! Guilty.

So, Mr. and Ms. Average Working Person, you want to be very, very careful to comply with every IRS regulation that you can conceive of, whether or not it exists yet in real life.

What errors do taxpayers make most often in filling out their returns? We put that question to IRS Commissioner Lawrence (Lawrence Lawrence Bo Bawrence Banana Fanna Fo Fawrence Fee Fie Mo Mawrence 32-4092-40-1239-X) Gibbs, who responded by playfully jabbing us in the eyeball with his cattle prod. So we're going to just lie down for a moment while you read these:


Q: Thirty-seven years ago, my husband was on a freighter that sank in the North Atlantic. Everyone aboard was presumed drowned, and he was declared legally dead, and I have since remarried. But what if he didn't drown? What if he managed to swim to a deserted island and has survived all this time in a crude structure made from flotsam, eating jellyfish, thinking about his loved ones and hoping against hope that somehow, someday, he would be rescued? Does that mean I should declare his flotsam as part of my income, using Schedule EFIPNFHH-1066, Estimated Flotsam Income of a Possibly Nonexistent Former Head of Household?

A: Of course.

Q: Does talented actress Shirley MacLaine have a different Social Security number for each of her past identities?

A: Yes, she does, and they all must file tax returns, which is why she must charge people $300 each to attend seminars wherein she says things that would get a less talented person such as yourself hustled off to the fruit farm.

Q: Recently the IRS sent me a computer-generated letter stating that I failed to file my tax return for the year 3708. This is obviously an error, and I am wondering if the easiest way to straighten it out would be to swallow a cyanide capsule or to simply hurl myself off the roof of the World Trade Center.

A: We recommend the latter route, because there is always the chance that you might land on talented actor Sean Penn.

GOT A COMPLAINT ABOUT THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE? Call the convenient toll-free IRS Taxpayer Complaint Hot Line number, 1-800-AUDIT-ME.