A Little Tax Humor

Portrait of a young laughing businessman with tablet computer in officeTake a break for a few minutes.

Editor's Note: 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!

By Robert E. McKenzie 

1) "Three things are certain in life. Death and taxes are two of them. The third is tax fraud." – Matt Pearce, LA Times, April 19, 2016


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


2) "I think nobody knows more about taxes than I do, maybe in the history of the world. Nobody knows more about taxes." – Donald Trump during 2016 campaign

3) "Anonymous just hacked Trump's tax returns. Unfortunately, like Trump's hands, the numbers are tiny and impossible to make out." – Michael R. Burch


4) "IT’S THE ENVELOPE no taxpayer wants to open: an IRS audit notice. What should you do if one arrives? Curl into the fetal position? Run? Freak out?" – USAA, April 21, 2016

5) "Consult an appropriate tax lawyer if you're thinking about legally setting up offshore financial accounts. And, definitely, consult a lawyer if you've already done it the other way … because the Feds may be ringing your doorbell very soon." – John Devie, U.S. News  World Report, April 19, 2016

6) "The invention of the teenager was a mistake. Once you identify a period of life in which people get to stay out late but don't have to pay taxes – naturally, no one wants to live any other way." – Judith Martin

7) 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, accountant No. 1 jams something in accountant No. 2’s hand. Without looking down, accountant No. 2 whispers, "What is this?" to which accountant No. 1 replies, "It's that $50 I owe you."


25 Responses to “A Little Tax Humor”

  1. Doug Doty

    Very disappointed to see the personal, mean spirited smears. I can’t imagine members my profession so divisive and offensive!! Please think twice before posting such an article. You did not make me laugh!!!!!!

  2. Chuck Brand

    No matter your political affiliation, or who you supported for President, we should respect the office. For those who oppose Trump, yes, when everything in the media is a dig it is hard not to be defensive. The frontal assaults started immediately, and whether you agree or disagree he is our President. Let’s put it in perspective:

    “IRS to Hillary: You are being audited and we need your records to support all of your and Bill’s speaking engagements and the deductions you took with them.
    Hillary to IRS: Oh, wait, I have them stored right here with my emails… Ooops!
    IRS to Hillary: That’s not a problem, we deleted all of our emails investigating the conservative groups applying for NFP status. You are good!”

    Many might find this funny, but it is a political dig at her. Some right now are laughing, some are fuming and want to reply this is not funny and she was singled out, it cost her the election, etc. Point is, it is a political dig under the guise of “tax humor.” Before you decide to skewer me, from either side I am just showing how sensitive BOTH SIDES are.

    Humor is personal, and influenced by our views and experience. On a forum such as this, when most turn for a quick relief during a stressful time, maybe we should focus on laughing at ourselves and clients, not making political statements. Just a thought…

    Personally, I found #6 and #7 funny, and if not for the political overtones #2 sounds like a few clients we all have who have read a tax article and now can give us ideas on how to reduce their taxes, but that is just my perspective.

    Hopefully to end on a funny that at least most of us can laugh at, a few of my son’s favorite accounting jokes. Definitely digs at me and the profession, but hopefully we can still laugh at ourselves (all below are shamelessly copied):

    1. “If an accountant’s wife cannot sleep, what does she say? ‘Darling, could you tell me about your work.’ ”

    2. “What is an extroverted accountant? One who looks at your shoes while he’s talking to you instead of his own.”

    3. One for tax season: “Why do accountants get excited at the weekends? Because they can wear casual clothes to work.”

    4. An accountant goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot. The shop owner 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 accountant. “Well,” replies the owner, “it knows how to do complex audits.” “How much does the middle parrot cost?” asks the accountant. “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 accountant 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’ve never seen him do a darn thing, but the other two call him Senior Partner.”

    Hopefully at least one of these made you laugh, and good luck to everyone during the rest of your tax season!

  3. Jennifer E Finger

    When Donald Trump actually says or does something worthy of respect, he’ll get it. Otherwise, he’ll get another kind of response. He reaps what he sows.

    • Mark Klinzing

      Came here looking for some “Tax Humor” but only to find more of the same, people trying to make political comments and make disparaging remarks against President Trump under the guise of “Tax Humor.” Funny what some people call “Tax Humor” these days. Didn’t realize the words “Tax Humor” was code for organizing an online demonstration against President Trump. Unfortunately many of the comments written were funnier than the jokes. It’s the busy season guys! We should all be doing what we do best and leave the commentary to people who really know what they are talking about and not take any opportunity to whine or cry about something we presently have no control over. Next time when you feel the urge to pontificate about our president stuff a donut in your mouth, it will taste better.

  4. Sharon D Quinn

    I thought all the jokes were funny, even the Trump one. He knew saying something that stupid would get people talking about him. It wouldn’t matter who said it, its a ridiculous comment. Thanks for the chuckles…

  5. David Reese

    Wow. It is humor, not political commentary. The fact that anyone who is not involved in the tax profession would claim to know more than anyone in history IS hilarious.

  6. Brenda Wilson

    I agree that they could have left off the political jokes. You may find that your readers (myself included) may add CPA Trendlines to the list of people, places, and things they will shut out. Please, CPA Trendlines, you should know better than to flaunt your bias toward one political party or another. ENOUGH ALREADY! I come to your site for professional and sound information… not political rhetoric.

    • Paul Piccone

      Amen to that.

    • Mark Bryan

      Are you seriously as thin skinned as the guy in the White House. It was a stupid comment and deserving of being used as a joke. The only way that comment could make sense is if it was intended as a joke. Lighten up politicians don’t care about most of us anyway.

      • Melanie LEsko

        This is why we could do without the political jokes.

  7. Frances W Steele

    Can we not have ONE place just One where comments are not made or people are not slamming each other over political issues? Please be professional. This has got to stop and it has to start with us.

  8. Jen

    Agree with Tony and Paul.

  9. Paul Piccone

    Couldn’t come up with any Obama or Hillary jokes? You lost. Get over it.

    • Jennifer E Finger

      Maybe that’s because unlike Trump, they released their tax returns and didn’t pay themselves on the back about how “smart” they were to minimize their financial contributions to the government they were hoping to head on behalf of everyone else who isn’t in a financial position to avail themselves of the same opportunities to minimize their tax liabilities.

      • Bill Brock

        Mr. Trump knows so much about taxes, he figured out how to “finesse” the NOL cancellation of indebtedness tax attribute reduction rules in the early 1990s.

        I too would have more wealth if I didn’t pay my taxes.

        • Ernest F. Howard

          I suspect we could look up: Gitlitz v. Commissioner, 531 U.S. 206 (2001); to see what Trump did to utilize his losses. Please remember what Judge Learned Hand said eloquently, brilliantly and appropriately: “there is not a patriotic duty to increase ones taxes above what the law requires”. If you expect your clients (or anyone else) to do so, you are in the wrong business. Gitlitz was law until Congress overturned it.

          • Bill Brock

            Do the math and tell me how THAT happened. Bottom line: you don’t get massive NOLs without first offsetting OPM discharged in BK.

            I do not doubt that Trump found the CPA equivalent of his personal physician.

          • Bill Brock

            Gitlitz v. Comm, which had not been decided at the time Trump used the NOLs, is a monumentally stupid “have your cake and eat it too” opinion.

            Of course, we are fierce advocates for our clients; of course, we should pass on advocating positions that don’t pass the giggle test.

  10. Mike Stone

    It would be easier to respect the position if the current occupant did…

  11. Kathleen Jaap

    I agree. Not funny.

    #7 is funny

  12. Todd Anderson

    #2 is a direct quote of the President. It’s not a comment ABOUT our President.

    You find it to be a petty little cut? Maybe he shouldn’t have said it?

  13. Tony Coladonato

    #2 and #3 are stupid. Why those comments about our President may seem funny to you, but to me and probably most everyone who voted for him believe those petty little cuts against him are absurd. Like it or not, any American should at least respect the position that he is in, and that is President of the UNITED States of America. UNITED…. get it?

    • Paul Piccone

      Absolutely agree.

    • Robyn Weinbaum

      45 gets the same amount of respect he gives to his vendors, his subs, his wife: zilch.
      us ‘snowflakes’ endured eight years of verbal abuse of President Obama.
      now it’s your turn.
      so suck it up, cheetos.

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