A dad’s letter to the IRS

(This letter, written by Bob Mullen, first appeared in Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul, published in 1990.]

Dear Sirs:

I am responding to your letter denying the deduction for two of the three dependents I claimed on my Federal Tax return. All I have to say is, thank you. I have questioned whether or not these are my children for years. They are evil and expensive. It’s only fair, since they are minors and no longer my responsibility, that the government should know something about them and what to expect over the next year. Please do not try to reassign them to me next year and reinstate the deduction. They are yours!

The oldest, Kristen, is now 17. She is brilliant. Ask her! I suggest you put her to work in your office where she can answer people’s questions about their returns. While she has no formal training, it has not seemed to hamper her from believing she knows everything, so taxes should be a breeze. Next year she is going to college. I think it’s wonderful that you will now be responsible for that little expense. 

While you mull that over, keep in mind that she has a truck. It doesn’t run at the moment, so you have the choice of appropriating some Department of Defense funds to fix the vehicle, or getting up early to drive her to school. 

Kristen also has a boyfriend. Oh joy. While she possesses all of the wisdom of the universe, her alleged mother and I have felt it best to occasionally remind her of the virtues of abstinence, or in the face of overwhelming passion, safe sex. This is always uncomfortable, and I am quite relieved that you will be handling this in the future. May I suggest that you reinstate Dr. Joycelyn Elders, who had a rather good handle on the problem?

Patrick is 14. I’ve had my suspicions about this one. His eyes are a little closer together than those of normal people. He may be a tax examiner himself one day, if he is not incarcerated first. In February, I was awakened at three in the morning by a police officer who was bringing Patrick home. He and his friends were TP’ing houses. For future reference, would you like him delivered to the local IRS office, or to Ogden, UT?

Kids at 14 will do almost anything on a dare. His hair is purple. Permanent dye, temporary dye, what’s the big deal? Learn to deal with it. You’ll have plenty of time, as he is sitting out a few days of school after instigating a food fight in the cafeteria. I’ll take care of filing your phone number with the vice principal. 

Oh yes, he and all of his friends have raging hormones. This house is filled with testosterone and it will be much more peaceful when he lives in your home. DO NOT leave him or his friends unsupervised with girls, explosives, flammables, inflatables, vehicles, or telephones (they find telephones a source of unimaginable amusement, so be sure to lock out the 900 and 976 numbers!).

Heather is an alien. She slid through a time warp and appeared as if by magic one year. I’m sure this one is yours. She is 10 going on 21. She came from a bad trip in the sixties. She wears tie-dyed clothes, beads, sandals, and hair that looks like Tiny Tim’s. Fortunately, you will be raising my taxes to help offset the pinch of her remedial reading courses. “Hooked on Phonics” is expensive, so the school dropped it. But here’s the good news! You can buy it yourself for half the amount of the deduction you are denying me!

It’s quite obvious that we were terrible parents (ask the other two) so they have helped raise this one to a new level of terror. She cannot speak English. Most people under twenty understand the curious patois she fashioned out of valley girls/boys in the hood/reggae/yuppie/political double speak. The school sends her to a speech pathologist who has her roll her “r’s”. It added a refreshing Mexican/Irish touch to her voice. She wears hats backwards, baggy pants, and wants one of her ears pierced four more times. There is a fascination with tattoos that worries me, but I am sure that you can handle it. Bring a truck when you come to get her. She sort of “nests” in her room and I think that it would be easier to move the entire thing than find out what it is really made of.

You denied two of the three exemptions, so it is only fair that you get to pick which two you will take. I prefer that you take the youngest two, since even though I will still go bankrupt with Kristen’s college, after that I am free! If you take the two oldest, then I still have time for counseling before Heather becomes a teenager. If you take the two girls, then I won’t feel so bad about putting Patrick in a military academy.

Please let me know your decision as soon as possible, as I have already increased the withholding on my W-4 to cover the $395 in additional tax and made a down payment on an airplane.

Yours truly,


16 Responses to A dad’s letter to the IRS

  1. Sadje says:

    A aggrieved father.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on phyllis reklis and commented:
    Some humor for your Tax Day! Thank you, bluebird for sharing this with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So funny. Thanks for the laughs. I will be passing this along.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My brother, who has one chick left in his nest (who will fly ‘free’ this May, after graduating high school). That kid, who works really hard, got more back in taxes than my brother did. This after the government took over half my brother’s gross income in ‘taxes’ deducted from his paycheck. I’m therefore inutterably grateful that I’m ‘retired’. They can mess with me, but not my money. A very welcome change!!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Jennie says:

    I love this!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote says:

    What a fun dad!

    Yikes, and I thought my three were bad when they hit their teens. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. smilecalm says:

    they were hoping
    you’d help them
    balance the budget 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Scottie says:

    Reblogged this on Scotties Toy Box and commented:
    Oh wow, I can only add: Can I send my two cats with them also? The thin one thinks he is a rottweiler and also the boss of all. He tends to take over any counter and thinks human food belongs on the floor, especially eggs. The large one ( 26 pounds but we have been told not to body shame him ) is terrified of everything. Only recently with great coaxing can we get him off of the ceiling when a toilet is flushed in the house. He has an amazing ability to defy gravity while sinking all his claws deep in your skin for traction as he flees his own shadow. You can have both of them for a reasonable amount off our trash pick up fee as they make most of the trash. They not only have their litter boxes ( need two as they fight over just one, seems they are proud of where they pee ) but their sharp claws reduce the best furniture to shredded embarrassments quickly. You should get set up in the local thrift shops as that is where we now get most of our temporary furniture. The terrible two love this as it gives them new smells as they destroy our meager income and attempts to have a normal home. I wish you the best as when you take them as we will have our first vacation in the eternity they have owned us. Be warned , they remember they were worshiped in old Egypt and they think that is how it should be today. Sort of like Evangelicals. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  9. After reading this, I’m so glad my children grew up after the 70s and before WIFI and cell phones. It was really a close call. 😀 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    I’d bet the government will reconsider.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dawn Marie says:

    Epic. 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

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