How many IRS agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?

 ... and more tax season humor.

Every tax season for the last umpteen years, Robert E. McKenzie, a tax lawyer at  Arnstein & Lehr in Chicago, has made a tradition of sharing his carefully curated collection of tax jokes. Here are a few of his latest. Enjoy!

Q: How many IRS agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, but the light bulb really gets screwed.
-- From Garrison Keillor’s ‘Pretty Good Joke Book’

IRS MOTTO: "We're not happy until you're not happy!"

“Ignore them and they’ll go away” is great advice for some of life’s annoyances. Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to taxes. -- Martha C. White, April 17, 2012.

A white business envelope with your name in the cellophane window and the return address of the IRS. Attention from the Internal Revenue Service can mean only one thing: They want your money. -- Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel, 5-6-12

Over the years and out of literally thousands of tax protestors who have been criminally prosecuted, a very small handful have won acquittals in their criminal trials, by convincing the jury that they were too stupid to understand that they had to pay taxes. -- Financial & Tax Fraud Education Associates, Inc

Cutting its (IRS) budget is like killing the goose that lays golden eggs -- or at least putting her in a smaller pen and feeding her less. -- By Selena Maranjian, The Motley Fool 2-1-12

Here's a funny story relayed by Internal Revenue Service call center agents: Taxpayers sometimes call in to complain they have mistakenly received letters intended for someone named "Levy." -- Gadi Dechter, Government Executive, May 16, 2011

“The tax code, once you get to know it, embodies all the essence of [human] life: greed, politics, power, goodness, charity” -- David Wallace via NY Times Courtesy of Jessica Tovrov

"Thirty years of looking at forms, crosschecking forms, filling out the same memos on the same forms," is how David Foster Wallace describes the work of his IRS examiners in his posthumously published book, The Pale King.

Loud dramatic music like you’d hear on TV or at the movies — “DUN-DUN-DUN” — echoes in my head as I pull a letter from our mailbox; it’s from the Internal Revenue Service. I don’t know about you but when Uncle Sam’s money collectors drop a line in the middle of summer instead of around tax time I open the thing right up. I mean, I don’t mind paying taxes. The USA is a big ol’ country and my hard-earned money helps with such groovy things as superhighways, thermonuclear devices to protect us from rogue nations and anti-revolution insurance. But I know I paid my taxes that year. Uncle Sam’s records said I’d only paid a few hundred dollars but my records showed that I’d paid a few thousand. Somewhere along the way someone, and it wasn’t me, left off a digit. -- Grant McGee 8-13-10

CPA Trendlines caught up with McKenzie to ask a few questions. And he gave us a few answers:

Q: How long have you been doing this annually?
A: 12 years

Q: How big is your collection?
A: 500 pages in Word.

Q: Where do you get the jokes from?
A: I look for fun things in tax articles and every year when I sent these out, CPAs, EAs, attorneys and clients respond with their favorite jokes.

Q: Do you have a single favorite joke?
A: Tony died and was sent to be judged. He was told that he had cheated on his income taxes, and that the only way he could get into heaven would be to sleep with a stupid, butt-ugly woman for the next five years and enjoy it. Tony decided that this was a small price to pay for an eternity in heaven. So off he went with this woman, pretending to be happy. As he was walking along, he saw his friend Carlos up ahead. Carlos was with an even uglier woman than he was with. When he approached Carlos he asked him what was going on, and Carlos replied “I cheated on my income taxes and scammed the government out of a lot of money.” They both shook their heads in understanding and figured that as long as they have to be with these women, they might as well hang out together to help pass the time. Now Tony, Carlos, and their two beastly women were walking along, minding their own business when Tony and Carlos saw their friend Jon up ahead, with an absolutely drop dead gorgeous supermodel. Stunned, Tony and Carlos asked Jon how is he with this unbelievable goddess, while they were stuck with these awful women. Jon replied “I have no idea, and I’m definitely not complaining. This has been absolutely the best time of my life. There is only one thing that I can’t seem to understand. After every time we have sex, she rolls over and murmurs to herself, ‘Damn income taxes!’”

Q: Have you received any death threats? (Just kidding on that one.)
A: Yes when I was a Revenue Officer with the IRS, I received a death threat when I seized a factory.


2 Responses to “How many IRS agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

  1. Jim Gilbert

    My two favorites:

    1. A doctor, a lawyer, and an IRS agent were debating over whose profession was the oldest.

    “If you read the Book of Genesis, you’ll see that God took a rib out of Adam to create Eve. That’s a medical activity, so medicine came first,” said the doctor.

    The lawyer replied, “But if you go back even further, to the first chapter of Genesis, you see that God created order out of chaos. That’s what lawyers do. So the law must have come first.”

    “Oh, yeah?”, said the IRS agent, “Well where do you think the chaos came from?”

    There’s also a great line by The Joker on Batman: the Animated Series: “I’m crazy enough to take on Batman, but the IRS? No, thank you!”

  2. Geralde L Bailey

    I had this I R S Collection Agent (friend?) who told me a few years ago that when he was collecting assessed taxes from a particular woman (lady??) that she called him a revolving son- of – a bitch. He told her he had been called many things but never that. Ask her what that was? She said ” that’s one who gets you every damn way you turn”.

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