Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Killing Me Softly

For only the second time in my life I will be receiving a "kill fee".  And for those who don't know, a "kill fee" is a sum paid for work that was never produced . . . or, to put it another way . . . I was asked to produce some work by a certain date, but for various reasons was then asked not to produce it, and the powers that be felt so bad about hiring me to produce the work that they are sending me a lesser amount for the trouble of not producing it.

Got that?

Essentially, we're talking free money here.  Not much of it . . . and I still report it as income, but money nonetheless.

But, in order to explain this to the IRS, let me answer a few basic questions that would likely come up at an audit.

Q:  Mr. Alleycat, what's this "kill fee" you have listed here under "other income"?
A:  Well, I used to be a hit man for the mafia . . . but seriously, folks, it's just a bit of insider nomenclature that writers sometimes use to explain the unexplainable.  It's the money I received for not doing any work at all.

Q:  You make this sound like you are a politician . . . receiving pay for no work.  How do you explain this to Uncle Sam?
A:  Who's Uncle Sam?  Is he related to Daddy Starbucks?

Q:  Okay, smart***, we'll need to see full tax returns for the last three years in order to determine if you've been hiding other "kill fees".  Is there anything else you are hiding?
A:  Well, when my son is home from college we hide him in the basement and lower food down to him by rope, but he's listed as a dependent on my tax return . . . and believe me, he still is!  I've also got four guitars in the basement closet that I haven't played in years, 26,000 baseball cards in mint condition, and a wife who hasn't seen the light of day in nearly a week.  I'm not trying to hide her necessarily, but she can get rather bitchy when she doesn't get her full 8-hours of sleep and, trust me, you don't want her to be here for the next audit!

Q: Are you planning on "killing" any other work in the near future?
A:  Lord, I hope so!  This is the easiest 37-cents I ever earned.  And by the way . . . does this throw me into Mitt Romney's tax bracket? 

Q:  When should the IRS visit you again for a review?
A:  When I die.  Check with my wife on the details.  She'll be the one carrying the coffee can that will contain my ashes.  I will be in her purse, and will be glad to answer any questions at that time.    

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