Legitimate Business Expenses


By: Kenda






“Geez, A.J., ya’ don’t have to yell.  I’m sittin’ right here.”


“Yes, I do have to yell. Rick, you were the one who was supposed to be keeping track of income and expenses for the past three months.  We made a deal, remember?  You promised me that you’d give me a hand for a change.”


“Yeah, I know.  I did. Everything’s right there on your desk.”


“Rick, I can’t file quarterly tax returns based on this kind of inane record keeping!”


“Why not?”


“Why not?  Why not, you ask?”


“Yeah, I believe I just did.”


“I’ll tell you why not.  Because it’s totally inaccurate, that’s why not!”


“How so?”


“For one thing, we cannot submit to the IRS as expense items a week’s worth of Dunkin Doughnut receipts.”


“How come?”


“Because it’s not a legitimate business expense, that’s how come.”


“Well, I don’t see why not.  My galley was bein’ remodeled, so I couldn’t eat at home.”


“That’s wonderful.  But the IRS will be quick to point out that we don’t do business in your galley.  And speaking of pointing things out, this ledger sheet you gave me has missing entries.  I know we made more money over the past three months than what you have tallied here.”


“Nope.  I think that’s accurate the way it is.”


“Well, I don’t.  For example, Mr. Rayburn paid us fifteen hundred dollars when we completed his case.  You’ve recorded here that we only received a thousand dollars from him.”


“That’s ‘cause when I deposited his check in the bank I kept five hundred back.  I used it to pay for the ceramic tile I put around my sink.”


“We’ll discuss that little matter you neglected to mention until this moment at another time.  Meanwhile, you can’t do that, Rick.  Regardless of what you spent part of Mr. Rayburn’s money on, the fact still remains that the business took in fifteen hundred dollars from him and we have to report that.”


“Who says?”


“Who says?  The IRS says. That’s who says!”


“Aw, they’ll never know.”


“They’ll never know?  We were paid with a check, Rick.  That little slip of paper we endorsed with Simon and Simon on the back, is easily traceable.  And what about this entry farther down?  In the expense column?  What’s this entry about trading even up with Bruno?”


“Oh, that.  That’s for some phone numbers Bruno gave us when we were workin’ on the O’Grady case.  Bruno didn’t charge us for his time.  He took something in on trade, so to speak.”


“Need I remind you once again that we are not a car dealership?  We don’t trade personal property in return for information.  Now what article of clothing did I lose this time?”


“Uh...well, uh...those shoes you bought last year when you went to New York.”


“My Italian loafers?  No, please, not my three hundred dollar Italian loafers.”


“Yep...uh...those would be the ones.  Bruno’s admired ‘em from afar for quite some time now.”


“But what good will they do him?  They’re a size 10.  For heaven’s sake Bruno must wear a 14 at least.”


“Fifteen actually.  And I don’t really know what he’s gonna do with ‘em.  He’ll probably trade ‘em to someone else.  That’s how Bruno does things, ya’ know.”


“Yes, I know.  He’s probably traded off an entire closet full of my clothes by now.”




“I wish he’d start admiring your clothes for a change.”


“Not likely to happen, A.J.  Bruno’s got better taste than that.”


Everyone’s got better taste than that.  Now, to get back to the business at hand, you’re going to have to help me reconstruct the last three months of cash flow so I can get the quarterly returns filed.”




“Yes, now.”


“Oh, all right.  But this certainly wasn’t what I was plannin’ on doin’ today.  I already did my part.”


“If you’d done your part correctly, then neither one of us would have to do this today.   I swear, Rick, the more help you try to be the less help you are at all.”


“So does this mean I’m off tax duty from now on?”


“It’s a tempting thought.  Hey, did you plan this?”


“I’ll never tell.”


“Rick, if I find out you screwed all this up on purpose, I swear I’ll report you to the IRS myself.  If this is how you keep your own records, I can guarantee you that you’ll be spending  time in a Federal prison.”


“Nah. I’ve got a sweet little gal down at Anderson’s Tax Service who does my taxes for me every year.  She knows just what to do in order to keep my records straight, and I know just what to do in order to thank her, if you get my drift.”


“All too well.  Only my brother would be cavorting between the sheets with the woman who prepares his taxes.”


“Hey, I’ve got good business sense, A.J.  Maybe if you had better sense for these types of things then we wouldn’t have the mess to straighten out we do.”


“Me? Me? Why you—-“


“Now, now, A.J.  Temper, temper.  If you hurt me, you’ll never be able to get that quarterly tax filing done on time.”


“That’s okay.  I’ll just write off your untimely demise as a legitimate business expense.  Maybe even depreciate your corpse over the next couple of years.”


“Uh...let’s get those taxes done, shall we?  After all, A.J., it’s like I always say.  There’s no time like the present to take care of legitimate business expenses.”



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