Monthly Archives: April 2012

And More Taxes!! — By Jill



Upon receiving the letter from the State of New York demanding an additional $895 I immediately went back to Liberty Tax.  The woman who had helped me before was there. But instead of being the mountain of confidence with “11 year’s experience who didn’t like to make mistakes” she seems now to angry and annoyed at me.  Apparently “doesn’t like to make mistakes” just means you get angry when you do.  Seeming lost, she jumped back and for to her manager (which is weird cause I thought she was the manager) but he was busy with other things. So much of the experience was spent waiting for him to finish what he was doing.

Most of this waiting time was spent looking at the giant Liberty Tax promise poster which clearly stated “If you’re not 100% satisfied we’ll refund your preparation fee.” As she struggled with the software trying to figure out how to amend the tax form with out having to start a whole new one, I decided after all was well and done, unless they got what I owe to New York very low, I would demand my preparation fee back ($262.) Why not? I decided to go with them over H&R Block (I still had their numbers written down with my tax documents.)  When you are selling tax services, you’re selling numbers and the ability to produce those numbers. If you fail at that you’ve failed at your job.  And c’mon, this is New York. New Yorkers don’t put up with bull shit! (Actually they do and in larger amounts than I’ve ever been exposed to.)

The error came down to one part NY state (they attributed my Seattle earnings to taxable NY income) but mostly parts Liberty Tax declaring me a partial resident then having me pay no Manhattan resident tax. (Turns out if you’ve live in Manhattan 180 days you still have to pay a prorated amount.) The amount owed went from $890 to $710, but then with some deductions to finally $360. Then said I wanted to talk about refunding my preparation fee.  The “nice lady” said her manager would have to deal with that. She went over to him (once again he was on his iPhone) and brought over a printed copy of the poster to point out to him.

Eventually he sauntered over to me. “So you’re going to pull this on us now?”

“Pull what? I went with you over H&R Block because I was only going to owe $90. Now I owe $400.”

“But that’ wasn’t our fault. And we fixed it for you.”

“Yes it was your fault. There’s a $360 discrepancy here. If it’s New York’s fault, help me take it up with them, otherwise you pay it.”

“I mean, I’ll give you your money back. Fine, that’s just fine. I’m just saying, it wasn’t our fault. And you’re pull this on us now, after it’s all done.”

I walked out of there triumphant but ambivalent. Yes, I was in full right to ask for my money back. $360 is a lot of money that will make the coming month rather difficult. Yes, it was clear Liberty Tax lacked professionalism and courtesy. They lacked the dignity to hold themselves accountable and own up to their mistake.  There’s were a whole list of reason I could come up to feel better about asking for my money back. But at the end of it I still felt wrong.

Ultimately I came to this, had I walked in there that afternoon and said “You guys fucked up, give me my money back, I’ll go have someone competent do my taxes right” that would have been okay. But I didn’t. I employed someone’s services to do a job (albeit a shitty one) then I had that same individual do further work to their best of their ability, fix that job. Someone had worked hours for me. And to not pay them for that work, because of a very poorly worded corporate policy, felt wrong. (Yes I realize that that $260 is not going into that tax preparer’s pocket.)

I called the manager back when I got home and told him to cancel the check.

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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in By Jill


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And taxes! — By Jill

It’s April 17th! The due date is past for you to finishing taking it up the bung hole from Uncle Sam. Now I did mine back in February. I’m used to getting returns and my taxes are usually pretty simple (Turbo Tax online free and easy) So why wait? But this year with the move, a Roth IRA my dad set up, and a class or two, the deductions part was going to be more complicated. But not to worry. H&R Block has a deal! Go in before the end of February and get it done for free. Not too shabby.

I go in, talk to the nice lady, drink some luke warm coffee with powdered non-dairy creamer, answer some questions about deductions ‘n such, and before I know it, taxes done! But she tells me the services will cost me 200 something dollars. I’m like “Woah! What’s with the sign for the free return?” To which she replies, “that was for a 1040 EZ, all those two state taxes and deductions made it a regular 1040.”

Feeling betrayed by advertising (you’d think I’d have learned by now) I tell them I’ll go elsewhere to see what the competition can offer. Not but three doors down was Liberty Tax Services. Sure the office was in an apartment complex opposed to a leased store front and the staff didn’t quite have the professional eloquence of H&R Block, but I decided to let them have a go at my taxes.  Though the first girl had some trouble, the manager stepped in and finished the process. They got me a  bigger refund and had me owing less money to New York state. (H&R had me owing $230 something NY, Liberty only had me owing $90) I was a little skeptical, “Are you sure this is right? Why does H&R Block have me paying more?” To which she reassured me, “I don’t know, but I’ve been doing this 11 years and I don’t like to make mistakes.” That was good enough for me.

A week or so later, I got confirmation everything was kosher with my federal taxes and my refund was promptly deposited in my checking account. I mailed off what I owed to New York and went on enjoying my happy life. Until one day…

Last week I got a letter back from the big apple. It wasn’t too happy. The letter told me I had miscalculated what I owed and that further funds of $890 would be necessary. Uh oh!

Next post? What happens when I march down to Liberty Tax Services and how the Post Office further fucks the whole thing up!

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in By Jill


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The New Goal — By Jack

With my TV writing class finished I’m once again left to my own devices. And that’s kinda scary. I’ve proven to myself that I can write in volume while others are staring at a blank page. What I don’t know how to do is to get people read my writing. Most notably agents, producers, head writers, etc.  And so that’s the new goal.


It’s a scary word.  Not gonna lie, sorta outside my comfort zone. Not really sure how Mack does it. Put me in a dark hole of a room with a computer and I’ll churn out pages (as well as meticulously check Facebook and Gmail.) But now it’s time to be social, cultivate relationships, attend functions, exchange business cards. You know, marketing. Gonna have to get a website designed and off the ground. Gonna have to start cold calling agents (those are pure death). And contests and fellowships must be submitted to non stop.

On some hopeful news, one of my plays will be read on May 20 on the upper west side. If you live in Manhattan, stop by. It will be at the Underground at 2pm. (That’s a bar, so you can get drunk and such.) And I think I’ve picked out my show to spec so I’ve still got the writing to do.

–Jack Out.

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in By Jack, Writing


The Sports Girl – By Mack


Hey all. As I promised, here is the 2nd installment of “Girls Mack was seeing for brief moments.”

Much like many of these disasters, the Sports Girl started from the breeding ground of all chaos, OkCupid.  Her  Mario hatted profile picture caught my eye. Her intermittent message responses made me think we’d never actually meet. And even though she would stop converstaions randomly, her responses to my  identical bahavoir to the tune of “I guess you’re bored of me now,” should have clued me in on self esteem issues.

The first date:
Unfortunately, the Mario hat in no way correlated to an appreciation of video games. In fact, she was more interested in the very opposite, sports. She insisted on meeting at a sports bar because she didn’t want to miss a basketball game over our date.

Not a deal breaker, and to be honest, she was actually pretty alluring. Nice eyes, straight red hair that framed her face like a girl out of a shampoo commercial. Curled up in her bar chair, she was kinda cute.  I decided to push the bounds of touch early on. She instantly drew attention to it with a “your hand is on my knee.” To which I responded with “now look at that.”

By the end of the date, we were making out during commercial breaks in the game. Which is good  because we didn’t have terribly much to talk about it. I hate sports. I tried to move  it back to her place as I was getting tired of making out in the bar.  I really didn’t want to have sex with her that night. At best I’d have liked to make out with her on her couch as she watched the game. But she strongly resisted that idea.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see her again. I could tell she wanted to be “courted” properly and I just didn’t see the attraction strong enough to invest in anything beyond anything casual. She delighted in the way I would brush the hair out of her face which made her look beautiful, but there was something that struck me as needy I couldn’t put my finger on.  If I saw her more, I was going to end up in deep.

The Second Date:
The neediness was much more apparent.  I wanted to do something relaxed and she wanted to go out for a full on dinner  and movie. Over the course of dinner we start to be honest with each other. I revealed some private details of my life and she revealed she was a virgin, a fact she seemed to be very ashamed of.  On the whole that didn’t bother me one way or another. But if we were to get involved passed this date it would require that deeper investment.

We ended up seeing a movie during which she didn’t just cuddle up against me, she was literally laying her head on my lap. She seems so safe and happy.  This made me feel very sad and sorry for her. The attraction I had felt in the bar was disintegrating.  A big part of me wanted to give her another date after this. If we had something in common, I’d could keep it going. If I didn’t feel like one more date and I’d be on the road to marriage, I’d could keep it going. But I knew that I didn’t want it to go anywhere and anything in its place would be disingenuous.

We walked from the theater. It was time to end it.
“This is my train.”
“You’re not going to walk me home?”
No, I’m sorry.” But before I could get out the sentence why, she interrupted.
“It’s okay. I won’t read into that.”
“Look, I’m sorry. I’m just not feeling it.”
I expected it to sink in for a moment, but instead she immediately snapped back.
“Okay. And that’s what happens when I tell guys I’m a virgin.”
“No it’s not that–“
But she was gone.

–Big Mack Attack


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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in By Mack, Dating


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