Comic tax relief

Published
  • March 23 2018, 7:19am EDT

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For years, tax humor connoisseur Robert McKenzie, a partner at Chicago law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, has been amassing a vast collection of jokes, gags, anecdotes, quips and bon mots about taxes -- and the accountants, lawyers and tax preparers who deal with them every day.

To help lighten your busy tax season, here’s a selection of some of the best of his collection.

Better off not knowing

A man made a Freedom of Information request to the IRS, asking whether there was an audit file on him.

A week later he received the reply. It said: “There is now.”

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The highest perch

A CPA goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot. The shopkeeper shows him three identical parrots on a perch and says, “The parrot on the left costs $500.”

“Why does that parrot cost so much?” asks the CPA.

“Well”, replies the owner, “it knows how to do complex audits.”

“How much does the middle parrot cost?” asks the CPA.

“That one costs $1,000 because it can do everything the first one can do plus it knows how to prepare financial forecasts.”

The startled CPA asks about the third parrot, to be told it costs $4,000. Needless to say, this begs the question, “What can it do?”

To which the owner replies, “To be honest, I have never seen him do a darn thing, but the other two call him Senior Partner.”

Between here and there

The trouble with today's taxes is that they keep your take-home pay from ever getting there.

Worth a rim shot

Where do homeless accountants live? In a tax shelter.

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Truth, Pt. 1

They say politics makes strange bedfellows, but it’s the taxpayer who has the nightmare.

Truth, Pt. 2

TurboTax is the worst video game ever.

Tax poetry

Abracadabra, thus we learn
The more you create, the less you earn.
The less you earn, the more you're given.
The less you lead, the more you're driven.
The more destroyed, the more they feed.
The more you pay, the more they need.
The more you earn, the less you keep.
And now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to take
If the tax-collector hasn't got it before I wake.
— Ogden Nash

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Investment advice

A financial planner suggested to a wealthy client that he should invest in a circus.

The client expressed great surprise at such an unusual recommendation: “A circus? Why on earth should I buy into a circus?”

The financial planner replied: “Because of the elephants.”

The client, puzzled even more, asked: “The elephants? What is the connection between circus elephants and investments?”

The financial planner asked: “Well, do you know much it costs to feed an elephant?”

The client, slightly annoyed, responded: “No, of course I do not know much it costs to feed an elephant.”

The financial planner explained: “Well, neither does the IRS.”

Tax wisdom through the ages

People are getting smarter nowadays; they are letting lawyers, instead of their conscience, be their guide.
— Will Rogers, American humorist

“In 1790, the nation which had fought a revolution against taxation without representation discovered that some of its citizens weren't much happier about taxation with representation.”
— President Lyndon B. Johnson

"The United States has a system of taxation by confession."
— Hugo Black, Supreme Court Justice

"Few of us ever test our powers of deduction, except when filling out an income tax form.''
— Laurence J. Peter, author

Age appropriate

Four accountants walk into a bar, and each orders a beer. They raise their glasses and make a toast: "Here's to 59!" After downing their beers, they order another round and make the same toast: "Here's to 59!" This happens again and again.

Finally, the bartender asks the accountants what the significance of the toast is.

"Well," said one of them, "we put a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle together in just 59 days!"

"And that's a big deal?" asked the barkeep.

"You bet," said the same accountant. "The box said 4 to 8 YEARS!!!"

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IOU

Two accountants are in a bank when armed robbers burst in. While several of the robbers take the money from the tellers, others line the customers up against a wall and proceed to take their wallets, watches and other valuables.

In the midst of the chaos, the first accountant jams something into the second accountant’s hand. Without looking down, the second accountant whispers, "What’s this?"

To which the first accountant replies, "It's that $50 I owe you."

Professional rivalries

A surgeon, an accountant and a lawyer were arguing about which of them was practicing the oldest profession. The surgeon said, “God created Eve from Adam’s rib. Obviously, God is a surgeon, so medicine is the oldest profession.”

The accountant protested, “Before God created Eve from Adam’s rib, he created an orderly universe from chaos. That clearly shows that God was an accountant before he was a surgeon. Accounting, then has to be the oldest profession.”

“All that may be true,” the lawyer said with a smile, “but who created the chaos?”

Truth in advertising

A man who had been caught embezzling millions from his employer went to a lawyer seeking defense. He didn’t want to go to jail. But his lawyer told him, “Don’t worry. You’ll never have to go to jail with all that money.”

And the lawyer was right. When the man was sent to prison, he didn’t have a dime.

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Everything’s bigger

A Washington tax lawyer goes to Texas to give a speech. He arrives at his hotel late and tired. After checking in, he goes down to the hotel bar for a well-deserved nightcap. The tax lawyer ordered a shot of whiskey and the bartender brought him a 12 oz. glass of whiskey. He inquired: “What is this?”

The bartender responded: “Everything is big in Texas.”

The tax lawyer drank the whiskey, and since he was still not relaxed, he ordered a beer. The bartender brought a 64 oz. glass of beer. Once again the tax lawyer asked: “What is this?”

The bartender again responded: “Everything is big in Texas.”

So the lawyer drank it but by this time he really needed to go to a bathroom, so he asked for directions from the bartender. He was told to go down the hall and turn left at the third door. Unfortunately the tax lawyer was a little tipsy from the shot and the beer, and he turned right at the third door and fell into the hotel swimming pool.

He immediately shouted, “Don’t flush it!!!”