As you may know, there is yet another bombshell leak in the news these days. The Panama Papers supposedly show what many of us have suspected: Rich and powerful people go to great lengths to keep from paying their fair share of taxes. The Swiss bank accounts of yesteryear have been replaced by phony corporations, bogus holding groups and enough money laundering to wash even the grimiest of hedge-fund manager and/or stripper germs off of piles of c-notes.
I had originally planned to do some serious investigatory journalism of the leaked documents and rant about the billionaire class running rough-shod all over the little man. As it happens, many of the movers and shakers exposed in these documents have more than a passing amount of influence on the media. As such, I’ll let Nancy Grace and Geraldo break that bombshell wide open. I’ve decided instead to get out ahead of this debacle and come clean before anyone subpoenas me.
You see, I’m not above a little creative accounting myself. While I haven’t quite resorted to off-shore accounts (yet), and I pay more than my share of taxes, I’m sure the hammer is going to fall eventually. I’m hoping that they’ll go easy on me for being so forthright.
- When buying groceries, I’ll occasionally ask the cashier to give me an extra twenty dollars cash back on my debit card. My original plan had been to show my wife what a crappy bargain hunter I was in hopes she would take over the shopping. When that strategy failed, I came to accept the extra money as payment for my work pushing the cart up and down the aisles and trying to find those weird granola things she had given me a coupon for. These bills were later cleverly hidden in the pages of homebrew supply catalogs.
- In October of 2014, my wife was certain she had left a ten dollar bill in her jeans. She asked me twice whether I’d seen the money while I was advancing the wash to the dryer. Though I had indeed seen the ten, I told her that I had not. It was placed on a basement shelf above her eye-height to dry and was later spent on an ill-named “Value meal” at a local chicken shack. For the record, I was so wracked with guilt, I could barely swallow that southern-fried sandwich of shame.
- While unpacking from a recent trip south of the border, I discovered a twenty peso note in a pair of shorts. I neglected to disclose this information to my wife, despite the fact that twenty pesos is likely enough to buy her a sports car. I rationalized my deceit as payback for my wife’s having been overly critical of my struggle to understand exchange rates.
- Finally, when trying on an old sport coat, I found several dollars in the inner pocket, likely left there from when some banquet hall employee was not deserving of more of a gratuity. This windfall was not reported to my wife or the authorities. The money was transferred to the pocket of a suit jacket and subsequently donated to a heavy-handed bartender named Paco at a recent wedding. I do not recall asking whether Paco had intended to fill out the proper tax forms, as his drag-pours left my memory somewhat fuzzy.
If you know my wife, please ask her to go easy on me. Should you find my financial disclosures trivial, please note that I am likely to suffer greater consequences than the majority of people listed in the Panama papers.