Tax Time: Instead of Dread, Host a Tax Party

Photo (cc) by gordonflood.com

You can’t fight the tax man, they say, and unless you can afford expensive lawyers it’s probably true. So, what’s a taxpayer to do but party? Here are two ways to throw a tax party with ideas and tips for planning your event.

Party 1: A do-your-taxes fest

Throw a practical tax party by gathering your friends so you can complete your tax forms together. Schedule the event shortly before the deadline, which due to overlap with federal and state holidays this year has been set by the IRS for Monday, April 18. Ask everyone to bring a laptop and their tax documents. People can even e-file at the party, as long as the strongest thing they’ve been drinking is coffee.

The host’s big job is to line up a couple of friends or co-workers who know the tax code and forms inside out and are willing to be on hand to help other guests. The host also supplies tools and supplies, including:

  • A fat handful of sharp No. 2 pencils with erasers and a pencil sharpener
  • Printed tax forms
  • A secure wireless connection
  • A working copier and scanner
  • Lots of electrical outlets or power strips
  • A charging dock or two (optional)

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As for the food and decorations, be an ambitious host and do it all yourself — you’ll find help below — or share the work by declaring your party a potluck. Add to the fun by awarding prizes to:

  • The first couple and first single to complete and e-file
  • The taxpayer who owes the most
  • The taxpayer who owes the least
  • The person with the craziest deduction
  • People who had a change in tax status last year — married, divorced or became parents, for example

Party 2: A tax day bash

When tax filing is behind you it’s time to celebrate. Fun only. No work allowed. As luck has it, April 15 is a Friday this year, so you can party away the evening of the big day or hold your bash any other time in tax season.

Here are tips for food, entertainment and decor including ideas from Knoji, DailyZilla and CNET:

Download the tunes

If The Beatles’ “Tax Man” is the only song you can think of, here’s more inspiration:

  • Billboard Magazine’s Tax Day Playlist: 30 Songs to Get You Through is wide-ranging, from Shania Twain’s “Ka-Ching” to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Make the Money” to Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing.”
  • About.com’s list of tax-related classic rock songs includes Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out,” The Kinks’ “Sunday Afternoon” and ABBA’s “Money, Money, Money.”

Decorations ideas

  • Cut paper play money (not the real thing — that’s illegal) into confetti.
  • Order paper napkins printed with some of your favorite tax forms.
  • Use a Monopoly theme. You’ll find Monopoly party favors at Shindigz.com. Or make your own. Find inspiration at these Pinterest boards. Or search Pinterest for ideas for party favors, decorations, centerpieces, games, food and drinks.
  • Look in a gag store or online for toilet paper printed with dollar bills.
  • Hang printed tax forms on ribbon strung across the ceiling or along the walls.

Games and contests

Make up grab bags or line up clever prizes for the winners.

  • Whack something: Make or buy a piñata, stuff it with paper play money and gold-wrapped chocolate coins. Give partiers a stick and a chance to take out their tax-day frustrations.
  • Monopoly: Pull out several Monopoly boards. Do a pre-party check to make certain each set is complete. Two to three players — four tops — per board is ideal.
  • The most ridiculous write-off contest: On the invitation, urge partiers to come armed with stories — from their lives or their research — of weird attempted tax write-offs. You can award extra points if the write-off was accepted by the IRS. Among the unexpected but legitimate write-offs are losses from gambling and bingo, wigs (if your hair loss is disease-related) and weight-loss programs (if your doctor has you enroll to treat a diagnosed condition) Efile.com has more stories of oddball deductions.
  • Tax day trivia: Get online and collect strange-but-true tax facts by searching “tax day trivia.”

Would you be game for a tax day party? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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