The inspiration for today’s post came from a very random place. I recently added a new podcast that answers listener questions, usually about relationships. One question was whether it is appropriate to ask someone out on a date in her place of work (like your waitress at a restaurant, for example). The hosts tried to think of various service relationships that come up in everyday life and how the customer might go about asking out the person helping him – such as a cashier or a bank teller.
One of their examples was how to ask out your tax preparer – that one really got me thinking! Imagine you were a tax preparer and after helping someone with their personal income taxes you received an email from him asking you out on a date. Assuming that you had a reasonably good personal rapport during your time working together, would you let your answer be influenced by his tax return? And what about his tax return would sway you, if anything?
I have to say I would probably keep the info I gained from the tax return in mind when deciding if I would want to date the person! (That is, unless that violates professional ethics or something – I’m speaking as a layperson.) Actually, as I’ve never worked with a tax preparer I don’t know what all is covered in those conversations, so let’s say I just had access to the potential date’s finished tax return. I would look at a few key points – income (stability, not magnitude so much), rate of saving for retirement, rate of giving, student loan interest deductions, home ownership, dependents, health expenditures. I don’t think I would rule out a date with anyone because one of those factors didn’t go the way I wanted it to – especially if there is a lack of evidence i.e. not itemizing deductions – but maybe if all of them went the wrong way I would decline. For instance, if the person has a high income but there is no evidence of saving or giving that would be a red flag.
Now let’s turn the tables and say that my tax return was the one being examined. What would our hypothetical tax preparer be able to tell about me that might influence his decision to date me?
What People Can Tell about Me from My Tax Return
1) I’m married filing jointly. Oops. Probably that would squash any dating.
2) I have a low income from one source. Definitely my income is low enough that it might be a turn-off for some people. But then again, my income is W-2 so I guess that shows my job is stable. Not having side hustles may indicate (especially if I’m being compared to other PF bloggers) that I am lazy or not ambitious or something.
3) I am a grad student. That’s under “occupation” right at the bottom of the 1040! It doesn’t specifically state that I’m pursuing a PhD, though. I’m thinking about all those articles I’ve seen on how highly educated or powerful women have terribly low rates of long-lasting marriage. Supposedly men being intimidated by highly educated women is a thing (I’m thankful I don’t know about this firsthand) so that might rule me out as a potential date.
What People Can’t Tell About My from My Tax Returns
Because we don’t itemize our deductions, a lot of stuff that would show up on other people’s returns don’t on ours. You can’t tell that we tithe based on our federal return, only from our state return. Because we contribute to our retirement accounts after taxes, our Roth IRAs don’t affect our returns at all. You also wouldn’t be able to tell if we own or rent. Basically, I think you can’t get a very good handle on whether or not we budget or overspend or whatever – there’s just a lack of information.
My conclusion is that I would use the knowledge from the tax return a little bit to rule out dates in extreme cases, but I don’t think our tax return provides much material to rule me in our out for dates (except the income issue).
If you saw a potential date’s tax return, what info would you use to decide if you want to go out with him? What would someone know about your finances/life based on your tax return?
photo from Free Digital Photos