Weed Week

I Got Stoned and Did My Taxes

Being comfortably high makes the burden of taxes a bit less awful.

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This is my first year married filing jointly, and also my first year being stoned while I do my taxes.

The first hurdle was trying to remember my TurboTax password. Well, the first hurdle was building up the motivation to do my taxes. I smoked a massive joint with my husband and browsed flights to Budapest and Dubrovnik before realizing that I could not procrastinate anymore and also could not fly to Eastern Europe to avoid my tax burden.

The TurboTax password was hidden in plain sight, right in our Dashlane password manager account. That didn't stop us from staring at the screen for somewhere between five and 20 minutes trying to figure out which one was the password (time is hard to estimate, man). The thought occurred to me that I might be too high to do my taxes. I steeled myself and tried to concentrate.

High people can be quite functional. I have a decent sense of my own limits. I was high for the vast majority of college: an acolyte of the wake-and-bake school of thought, trotting to class each day under the influence of coffee and a spliff. Prattling professors and try-hard college students couldn't get to me if I was stoned, so I would sit in the back of the class and read the news each morning in a slight stupor—my bookwormish ritual. Weed has always gently mellowed my naturally Type A, ultra-organized personality. If it can dull the pain of higher education, presumably it can dull the pain of taxes too.

At the beginning of TurboTax's tour, they ask you to answer a few questions about ways your financial circumstance has changed over the past year. I had switched jobs and—more important to the IRS—had gotten married. "Most couples who file together save money on their taxes together! We'll gather info for both of you, and help get your first refund as a couple." TurboTax chirped, accompanied by a heteronormative graphic of a diamond ring intertwined with a chunky wedding band.

I uploaded my W2s and started tediously entering freelancing 1099s. I connected my Wealthfront investment account to the TurboTax platform. I attempted to demystify what a 1099-DIV is, and to figure out how to declare our various investments. No real roadblocks thus far, but my mind kept wandering.

As I got to the charitable giving part, a thought came to me: Maybe one good side effect of taxes is that they force people to confront whether charitable giving and (for the religious among us) tithing really matter to them. Oh no, am I becoming one of those people, the ones who let government incentives dictate their actions? I think so, just a little bit.

Last year we gave one-time donations to various causes, but nothing enormous. While filing taxes this month, we realized the error of our ways, and also that a write-off sounds nice. The day after filing, we set up monthly donations to our church (non-denominational, but Baptist-tinged) and to immigrant and refugee respite centers in the Rio Grande Valley. The government nudge wasn't the single deciding factor—this is something we'd wanted to do for a long time—but it was the catalyst that brought it front of mind. (Tokes.) Thanks for the reminder, taxes!

As the legal theft droned on (asking about property taxes and mortgages), my stoned mind couldn't help but marvel at the glorious invention of TurboTax. Our entrepreneurial overlords had created software that makes everyone's yearly government takings way easier to calculate and complete. Now they have a near-monopoly on digital tax-filing services. Also, what a brilliant business concept: a platform that appeals and caters to almost everyone. Shark Tank's wise sage Kevin O'Leary has a saying about how entrepreneurs should focus on areas where there are built-in markets (i.e., weddings and funerals). The TurboTax inventors went even further! All hail the free market! I delighted in the built-in audit risk assessment for freelancers far more than any sober human being would. I smoked another joint on the porch and sipped some coffee.

Things took a turn for the worse when I got to the page that asked "Do you want to donate $3 to the presidential campaign fund? This will not reduce your refund or increase your tax due." I clicked on the description, rightly fearing the worst. TurboTax explained that this opt-in funding of elections could "reduce candidates' dependence on large contributions and, hopefully, to put everyone on an equal financial footing (so they'd have more time to discuss the issues)."

It was at this point that I realized I wasn't sufficiently stoned anymore. As if candidates would focus on the substance—and as if that substance would matter to the many hobbits and hooligans swarming around the ballot boxes like flies. As TurboTax auto-checked for more credits and deductions, my brain descended into campaign finance reform, and I made some cannabutter tea (Thai red tea with milk, a hefty chunk of homemade cannabutter, and some sweetener), which produces a long-lasting but mild high.

By the time we were done, we owed the government a lot of money and the covered porch smelled like a hotboxed dorm room.

Pot isn't a cure-all. It didn't cure the pain of owing the government roughly $2,000, or the frustration of wondering whether we were entering all our stock holdings correctly. But it did make rote data entry just a little more fun. Marijuana apparently isn't too dangerous to inhibit me from filing my tax returns. I even managed to figure out the 1099-DIVs.

Weed is one substance in our arsenal that makes the mundane necessities of life a bit more manageable, a bit more whimsical, and a bit less dreaded. If they're going to make us surrender hard-earned wads of cash, we at least ought to be able to chief a blunt while we do it.

Check out the rest of our stories for Weed Week 2019.

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35 responses to “I Got Stoned and Did My Taxes

  1. Pot isn’t a cure-all. It didn’t cure the pain of owing the government roughly $2,000, or the frustration of wondering whether we were entering all our stock holdings correctly.

    Pot might make you stupid and confused, though. How the hell do you have any stock holdings on an income so miniscule as to only owe the government roughly $2,000? I suspect you meant to say you owe the government an additional $2,000, on top of the $20,000 or so you pre-paid on what you owed.

    It’s a common mistake but one which libertarians are less apt to make than others – ask anybody about this time of year what they paid in taxes and they’ll cheerfully tell you “Oh, I didn’t pay any taxes, in fact I got a refund!” No, you poor retarded sap, you did pay taxes – a shitload of taxes – but you are just blissfully unaware of how big a bite is being taken out of your ass.

    As a self-employed small business owner, I know goddamn well the government is making a hell of a lot more out of my labor than I am. If you’re self-employed you should be painfully aware of this too.

    1. This is true. And I’m in Canada. Imagine the dulled and sullen senses of Canadians after years of heavy taxation? How many stick people I’ve drawn for people showing them how much they pay and still all I get are blank stares. It’s utterly deflating. I even had one guy who makes over 200k a year say after I asked him if he thought being taxed well over 55% of his income (never mind Quebec has a whoppingly immoral 15% sales tax on top of it AND a carbon tax) was excessive and he said, ‘I’m not complaining’.

      As if that’s magnanimous of him.

    2. “I owe $2,000 [after all the taxes I already paid]” is factually correct. The author probably also recognizes that she paid a lot in taxes throughout the year, but who knows, right?

      1. I was going to say the same. “I owe” is present tense. She’s a writer, presumably somewhat more engaged with the written language than a mere commenter. If she’d wanted to include what she had already paid, she’s have said so.

    3. You don’t owe them what they already took from you, so her statement is perfectly correct.

    4. I work in finance and I cringe every time someone celebrates their tax refund. You literally overpaid the government and they kept your money. When they gave it back to you, they didn’t account for interest, inflation, or a reasonable market rate you could have earned had you not overpaid.

      Taxation is theft, no exceptions.

  2. It is funny that the week everyone is paying taxes, we are going to get a bunch of articles about MJ.

    The vast number of young kids aren’t sweating their taxes this year because the vast majority are getting a refund or paying a small amount. And so I am sure that sites like Reason trying to appeal to the younger generations will happily fixate on weed week, despite the fact that marijuana regulation is a strategic war that has been won, even if there are some tactical battles yet to be fought.

    Taxes, on the other hand continue to be a huge problem in the US. We have one of the most progressive taxes in the developed world, where a huge number of people have no skin in the game. That doesn’t stop the political class from calling for the people already paying a ton of taxes to pay even more. And for all this, we still run a massive deficit.

    I’m glad MJ is far down the path of legalization, but the tax system is a far more pressing example of just how bad our government is getting, and the stupid coincidence of “4/20” means it won’t get nearly the coverage it deserves.

  3. Did you know that Joe Biden coined the term ‘Drug Czar’ after watching Reefer Madness?

    According to Biden, the movie set him on a path to have the government warn the nation’s youth about the dangerous marijuana plant and how getting ‘stoned’ is very bad.

    Biden is in constant contact with past and present Drug Czars, who say that the current marijuana is much more powerful than the hippie weed. So much so, that it’s now considered to be not only highly addictive, but a gateway drug to LSD.

    Unnamed sources say Biden was maneuvered to be Obama’s Vice President so Biden could keep an eye on president pot head. There was a feeling that Obama would start smoking marijuana again, even though he swore he was off the stuff. So Biden was placed there to make sure Obama behaved and did not reclassify marijuana.

  4. and also my first year being stoned while I do my taxes.

    I always do my taxes stoned. I couldn’t imagine doing them not high.

    The thought occurred to me that I might be too high to do my taxes.

    Impossible – that’s why they made turbo tax – so people can get stoned and do their taxes.

    1. “that’s why they made turbo tax – so people can get stoned and do their taxes.”
      Let me call them – I have a great idea for an ad.

    2. I always filled out the forms stoned too.
      I don’t generally work well while stoned but certain kinds of tasks like debugging code (of the terrible variety that I write occasionally) or doing taxes work really well if you are just the right amount of stoned. A couple of beers doesn’t hurt either.

  5. A tribute to stoner stupidity.

  6. If there were a mutually exclusive choice between abolishing the income tax or legalizing recreational marijuana, I’d rather abolish the income tax for a number of reasons. For one, it’s still possible for people to get high in states with legalized recreational marijuana. Much harder to make an income without filing. Also, drug warriors still typically need to go through the criminal justice system to get you, but, for the crime of earning income, the IRS can make your life miserable without ever taking you in front of a judge. Also, avoiding the legal consequences by choosing not to indulge in marijuana is easy enough, but choosing not to make an income, that’s substantially more difficult.

    1. Too many people tuned out is the problem.

  7. I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry. The writer was so stoned that she completely forgot to mention K-1s and the beauty of trying to transfer the info from these master limited partnerships into the correct place(s) in TurboTax. Like … wow … I did mine three different times and the results were different every time … dude(tte).

  8. Get stoned to do your taxes. But don’t get stoned to get through life. One reason we have this crappy tax system is because too many people in my generation got stoned and let the gub’ment get away with too much stupidity by letting it all roll off them in a haze.

    1. That’s an interesting theory.

  9. Do you go to church high, too? Baptists probably frown on that, but someone who benefits from pot during a standoffish college lecture would really need something to get through a Baptist service, or even one that’s only tinged.

    1. Have you tried Rastafarianism?

  10. repeal the 16th. and legalize it. or don’t whatever it’s not like laws stop anyone from getting it

    make america grateful again.

  11. Bravo! Well done, Liz.

  12. Weed has always gently mellowed my naturally Type A, ultra-organized personality.

    I can only imagine how thrilling it must be to be around you.

    Weed is one substance in our arsenal that makes the mundane necessities of life a bit more manageable, a bit more whimsical, and a bit less dreaded.

    Well at least I know not to take you seriously about anything anymore.

  13. “I Got Stoned and Did My Taxes.”
    That doesn’t mean shit.
    What counts is doing someone else’s taxes when stoned.
    How many times do I have to tell you?

  14. I was working on my taxes, and then I got high
    I was working on my taxes, and then I got high
    I mistakenly put my depreciation interest in form F instead of form U, and I know why
    Because the income tax sucks, because the income tax sucks, because the income tax sucks

    1. Bada ba ba ba ba..

  15. […] “I Got Stoned and Did My Taxes,” by Liz Wolfe […]

  16. I just want to know where to get some in Austin, so I can do my taxes stoned next year. LOL

  17. […] “I Got Stoned and Did My Taxes,” by Liz Wolfe […]

  18. […] that she got stoned before doing her taxes this year. While I don’t recommend this at all, Wolfe wrote, much to my entertainment, “I smoked a massive joint with my husband and browsed flights to […]

  19. It takes some pretty strong dope to make someone imagine they aren’t being forced at gunpoint to do the government’s taxes. What next? “My” bombing of women and kids on the other side of the planet?

  20. […] Bonus links: Saturday, coincidentally, happens to be 4/20, and Reason has got you covered with a wide array of Weed Week stories. (You should particularly check out my personal favorite, in which Liz Wolfe got high and did her taxes.) […]

  21. […] Bonus links: Saturday, coincidentally, happens to be 4/20, and Reason has got you covered with a wide array of Weed Week stories. (You should particularly check out my personal favorite, in which Liz Wolfe got high and did her taxes.) […]

  22. […] Bonus links: Saturday, coincidentally, happens to be 4/20, and Reason has got you covered with a wide array of Weed Week stories. (You should particularly check out my personal favorite, in which Liz Wolfe got high and did her taxes.) […]

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