Talk & Taxes

Shall I talk about Eddie’s and my tax preparations? It is what he and I have been working on today. No, maybe not first. First I’ll alert you to yet another online interview with me, me, me!

This time the questions are coming from Ed Mathews, who was invited to talk to me while hanging out at‘s throbbing Pulse news division. (Normally Popimage, where "My Hypnotist" has been unfolding all week, is Ed’s turf, but Jennifer Contino offered him some of her Pulse space so he could spead the word about my comic strip to the Pulse constituency. Thanks, Jenn. You’re da bomb!

While I’m citing comics journalists who’ve given me Internet "air time" lately, let me also remind you about Katherine Keller’s interview that was posted back in December at Sequential Tart. I don’t get this much press attention often, folks (must be that subliminal post-hypnotic suggestion I enbedded in all of my advance plugs for "Hypnotist"), so lap it up while it’s available!

Meanwhile, back in the land of the mundane, Eddie and I spent hours this weekend trying to get a head start on tax preparation. We’ll be getting professional help this year because of the state we live in (speaking both geographically and matrimonially).

It’s like this: Eddie and I have to check the "single" box on our federal forms even as we check the "married" box on our Massachusetts forms. Such is the sad, conflicted state of America’s current marriage laws.

Eddie and I had contemplated using TurboTax to do our taxes as I’ve sometimes done individually in the past. But the software designers at Intuit, TurboTax’s parent company, seem not to have figured out that there’s a whole set of couples who will never again fit Uncle Sam’s template unless times change radically.

The reality is simple: in Massachusetts Eddie and I are neither domestic partners nor civilly united nor the recipient of blessings under some unofficial "ceremony of commitment." We are legally married. Period. We’d be as married as George and Laura Bush if George and the Federal Government (and lovable Laura, for all the help she’s offering) weren’t quivering in fear behind the built-in bigotry of 1996’s so-called Defense of Marriage Act, hoping desperately thatall of the gay marriages will just go away before their precious institution is ruined—but not before they can be exploited to win a few more elections for Republicans.

But that’s for them to sort out. Here in Tax Season 2006, Eddie and I find ourselves both legally married and involuntarily unmarried at the same time.

Before spending money on TurboTax I called Intuit’s techie-help line to ask whether they’ve programmed their software to deal with couples like us. Those of you who have used TurboTax know that if the data you enter in your federal form doesn’t match the data you enter in your state form, the software will insist on flinging alert messages at you until you agree to pick one version of reality or the other.

When I explained my concern, the phone techie on the other end of the line (who happened to be a lesbian herself) exclaimed. "Yeah, come to think of it, that sucks!" (Or words to that effect; maybe she wasn’t quite that blunt while on the job.)

I suggested that she relay word through her supervisor to Intuit’s programmers that they should get on the stick about this problem if they don’t want TurboTax to keep losing customers year after year. There are a lot of us married gay folks here in Massachusetts, after all, and this problem is going to keep coming up again and again.

About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
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