dropping off the taxes

sounds mundane?

it’s anything but. actually, dropping off the taxes is one of my favorite things i do in new york all year.

confused? I’ll explain.

my taxes are straightforward and uncomplicated. i do them online at turbotax.com, a self-flagellating experience i’ve documented elsewhere on this site. but it works, i must admit. i got my federal tax refund automatically deposited into my checking account yesterday.

it pays to file early.

kirk’s taxes are another matter entirely. his taxes are a rabbit warren of complication. he has his home business (photostrata.com) with all of its attendant weirdnesses.

so where better to take his taxes than a rabbit warren of an office?

i won’t tell you where it is. if you emailed and begged and sent bribes i might be swayed, but i might not be, too. suffice it to say that, after one year’s return we were so happy with how good this guy is that we sent him flowers. how many times have you sent your tax preparer flowers?

and his name, i’ll tell you cryptically, is the same as an aging rock legend. which seals the deal for us.

this guy knows how to do taxes, and how to find deductions, like no one i’ve ever seen. he’s a rock star himself, in the world he inhabits, as far as i’m concerned. and going to his office is, as i mentioned before, one of my favorite new york experiences.

it begins when you ascend the stairs. the building is one of those decrepit old buildings where the tenants have been there a hundred years, and therefore the landlord doesn’t sink a dime into upkeep because he doesn’t have to, so there’s a tenement feel to it as you creak your way up the wonky staircase to the office of the taxman.

and you wind your way up, and then you push open the door. if you’ve ever wondered what happened to the “clarks” in all those dickens novels, this is where they’ve gone to die. median age is probably eighty, but median iq is probably 160. these guys are geniuses. a room six steps by maybe seven steps, if you were short and walked with a limp. squeaky wooden floors slightly uphill and then down, office furniture from ’40s film noir, bookcases stuffed with yellowed paper lining every available inch of wall space. and the files and paper overflow everywhere. the desks. the floors. stacks and stacks everywhere, tilting at crazy angles.

and the dust. my god, the dust. and the cobwebs, and the dank, stale air.

there may be a window. it’s hard to tell.

and you hand over your folder, and it disappears into the vast chasm that surrounds you. and two weeks later or so, or less if you have brought your forms early which we have, your completed tax forms reappear from the dense mess, and you pick them up, and you marvel at the refund the genius has extracted, and you write a pretty big check for them but are more than happy to do so.

after all, in new york, you have to pay extra for the ambiance.