How I made sure I’d always be able to find my tax return

The Comptroller of Maryland has decided that I owe them $800 in income taxes, interest, and fines for the first year I spent entirely in Illinois because the IRS that year refused to accept that I didn’t live with my parents anymore and so clearly I’m hiding Maryland based income. The timing between when they send that letter to my parents, who have moved twice since then, and when I buy a house in Wisconsin (it’ll be the first residence I’ve had that actually hits my credit history. I’m not sure why none of the leases ever hit my credit history, perhaps because I always paid in cash, but with a mortgage I doubt the house will stay off the grid) strikes me as highly suspect, but I wouldn’t trust anybody associated the IRS further than I could spit on them, so judge my suspicions as you will.

This is not a rant about income tax or the evils of the Internal Revenue Service. I do that one entirely too often for it to still have any entertainment value.

In order to explain to Maryland that they can’t just decide that I owe them $800 despite not having a single W-2 reporting income earned in Maryland for that year I have to produce a return filed in a different state. Now I know you’re supposed to keep all your tax documents for seven years, I’ve always known this, but I’ve always filed electronically, and I haven’t owned a printer in years, so I probably don’t actually have hard copies of any of my returns, ever. And of course, as far as electronic copies go, my first thought is, “Well crap, all those hard drives are probably gone.”

I haven’t put Manticore together since moving into the house. I just don’t have a use for a Windows box. But I reasoned, quite accurately, that if an electronic version of my returns survived it would be either because they’d landed on Manticore’s hard drive while backing up the ipod, or because I’d emailed them to myself at some point. I’m pretty sure I’ve gone and backed up the essential backups from Manticore onto Marduk, so I go poking through Marduk when I run across a folder: /home/anaea/clearingoffdesktop/Manticorebackup/ManniesSpareBrainbackup/IRSshit

“Hrm,” says I. “The cussing indicates I’m on the right path.”

The year in question, I recalled when Dad called to let me know about the Comptroller harassing him to get to me, was the year the state of Illinois had the gall to claim I owed them $2. I spent roughly 4 times my annual income in Illinois that year (yeah, still paying that debt. Owie), but they want $2 more. I did the taxes and such on a Sunday night so, around 11:30pm on a Sunday night roughly 30 people were treated to my response for the IRS. No need to repeat it in detail – all you need to know is that Don’s edict that the day I buy a gun he’s not willing to be my roommate anymore dates to roughly 11:45 that night.

So I open this IRSshit folder. It contains:

IllinoisShit
MarylandShit

Each of those folders contains sub folders for each year I’ve filed taxes. Those folders have scanned versions of all of my W-2s (my record for most W-2s in a year? 7) and my returns. Like the folders, the actual file names for the returns have a naming scheme. Let me provide some sample names and see if you can find the pattern:

FuckMaryland2001.pdf
FuckingIRS2002.pdf
FuckIllinois2003.pdf

Ladies and gentlemen, if you run a search for shit on any of my computer systems, you’ll find all of the IRS related folders on it. Fuck gets you the actual returns. It’s so very clever I don’t know what to do with myself, because I would wind up searching “fuck” while desperately looking for a tax return.

I wish I remembered when I came up with that naming scheme. I certainly don’t remember doing it on purpose. I wonder if it’s possible that I came up with the same naming scheme every year independently and it wasn’t until I consolidated all the backups (last year?) that it became obvious.

Wound up sending the necessary return to Dad as he has the handy pre-printed envelope. I did not change the file name first – I’m thinking it’ll amuse him.

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