This is Weird

weird 0420

You know what’s weird? Besides everything in the whole entire world, I mean? Well, lots of things.

For instance, tax returns. Lynn and I don’t have one yet for 2019, although we do have one from 2018 (filed in 2019 just to be confusing), but now, a year later, we’re having trouble figuring it out and remembering.

Lynn has been trying to track our “stimulus” check, which in reality is being termed as an advance on our 2020 return, to be filed one year from now in 2021. (This is all weird, right?) I’m doubting that most people know that — this isn’t free money after all, but just a loan to ourselves a year ahead of time. Which may or may not get interest charged on it.

We didn’t get a check direct deposited in our account the last two days, and when we try to use the IRS tracker, it gives us a generic “you are lost in the system” sort of message. But we don’t even know if the IRS has our bank account information.

The problem — one of many, it turns out these days — with owning a small business set up as an S corporation is that the “income,” which is often largely fictional and rarely leaves the business even if it exists, gets passed through to the owners’ households for taxation. Because this “income” is highly variable, one year I owe the IRS and must pay estimates; the next I am getting money back.

Last year in an unusual turn of events, Lynn and I got a decent refund from the feds while owing the state a large chunk of money. That’s weird. But now we don’t recall how, or perhaps even if, we got that federal refund.

Our return got extended last year — I don’t remember why now — and was filed in the summer (although we’re having trouble finding a date anywhere on the return) right in the thickening throes of packing and moving. Did we get a check? Was it direct deposited? The return has a bunch of X’s where the routing and account numbers go, and I don’t know if that’s a security feature or it means we didn’t go the routing route.

Either way, there should be a record in one of our accounts somewhere of this deposit being made, and yesterday I couldn’t find it. I have a message in to the accountant to see if he can answer the direct deposit question, and I’ve made it far enough on the IRS website to learn that if you filed jointly, you can’t use an automated system to track a previous refund. You have to call — that ought to be a fun wait of several hours, if not days.

If it turns out we didn’t opt for direct deposit, then that means the stimulus loan/don’t forget this comes out of your 2020 return/ check is never going to find us, because we moved and the IRS does not yet have our current address.

As long as we’re on IRS and government weirdness (I’m sure it’s them and not us), I finally — on the day the money ran out — heard back from a woman about the Paycheck Protection Program and whether payroll taxes will be forgiven. She forwarded an e-mail from a different woman who has been busy assembling a “loan forgiveness FAQs”, who noted: “This statute defines payroll costs in an unprecedented manner . . . [this] confirms that this is still a gray area that needs more guidance from Treasury and SBA.”

Isn’t that weird, that the government would make things unnecessarily complicated? Particularly when it was trying so hard to help the little guy that the Republicans slipped in a $90 billion (with a B) clause that primarily aids real estate developers (huh; do we know anyone in a prominent position who might be a real estate developer?) and allows them to harken back to those plague years of 2018 and 2019 in addition to 2020.

Even the lead headline for the Gunnison Country Times, on the same day that local Facebook was awash in businesses asking if anyone had received any federal assistance amounting to a few thousand dollars (on the day the money ran out, recall): “Airport Nets $18 Million.”

“In what has left Gunnison County leaders stunned, the federal government has awarded the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport $18 million in funding” the Times reported — and this from the same CARES act that cares so deeply about the smallest among us. Stunned. Maybe county business owners can all get put to work rebuilding the airport terminal, instead of giving most of that money to large, out-of-town construction firms.

But, if I move on past digression, I think it’s weird that the PPP has gone to such extreme and convoluted machinations to insure federal assistance money doesn’t cover the payroll taxes due the federal government, when the alphabet programs I opted to use take all their money from payroll taxes.

How does any of this make sense?

Weird is that my friend Julia, recovered from covid-19 (despite a negative test, probably taken way too long after the fact), has antibodies swimming throughout her blood, according to her boss, a naturopath who has been running a lot of blood tests lately, but can’t find anyone interested in taking the blood (or plasma) she stands ready to donate. Her husband Paul, back home and apparently live on Facebook, would also be happy to donate, but there’s no mechanism for them to do so.

And I’d like someone to explain this: vaunted Von Miller, arguably the most famous Denver Bronco, has announced he has tested positive for the virus. I actually appreciate him coming forward with this news, which I think helps show no one is immune, not even Super Bowl MVPs, but the sportscaster reported Mr. Miller was the only Bronco to test positive, at least so far. Why are we randomly testing professional athletes when people like Julia can’t get tested until their disease is well advanced? How helpful is that in the overall scheme of things?

Although I suppose, now that Florida has designated professional wrestling as an essential service right alongside groceries and gas, it’s clear we need to protect our athletes, even as what seems to be an inordinate number of musicians are dying from this virus.

It’s all part of the weirdness, I guess. And I imagine it’s only going to get weirder.

For some reason, the video itself might not post here. Weird Al has said the coronavirus is not something to make light of, in a refusal to issue a parody song. But Jimmy Fallon talked him into a performance of a repurposed oldie:

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