• Member Since 11th Oct, 2011
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago


I'm older than your average brony, but then I've always enjoyed cartoons. I'm an experienced reviewer, EqD pre-reader, and occasional author.


When Derpy fills out her tax return, she finds that she owes quite a bit of money. However, she seems to have an alternative way of settling the debt. She might even have fun. A chance for creativity doesn't come around that often, after all.

Second-place winner in the /fic/ write-off "Beneath the Mask."

Featured on Equestria Daily!

Chapters (1)
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 54 )

I...I find myself sort of torn. I really like this story and it was very sweet but there were still bits that bothered me slightly. Derpy comes across as being very stubborn and maybe a bit proud yet when suddenly everyone helps her for nothing she chases it for a few seconds and then suddenly seems to forget. It's a small thing but just kinda chewed at my brain a bit.

Either way this was really cool and Dinky was adorable as always.

Derpy is very stubborn about things she's knowledgeable about. So she'd flatly refuse to change anything in the play itself, but Twilight's of a mind with her on that one, and so wouldn't ask her to. The scenery's pretty generic, so she doesn't have a preference there. She does resist Rarity some because she's in a conflict between something she knows a lot about (historical accuracy of the costumes) versus something she doesn't (fashion sense), so she grudgingly leaves it in Rarity's hooves without demanding her way explicitly. Where she gets easily flustered is when things go wrong that she's not confident in her abilities about, like being a leader (this is why the rehearsal gave her a breakdown) and managing money (this is why she's pretty passive on that front and is more or less resigned to letting it happen as it will). If you think that needs to come out more explicitly in her narration, then I can take a stab at it.

Edit: I've added a little material to cover this.

The whole time, I was thinking, "So, when does she realize she got her maths wrong?" And then at the ending, I thought Celestia was going to say, "By the way, I went over your maths. The government owes YOU four hundred eighteen bits."

But yeah, this was pretty neat.

This was awesome in the writeoff and I'm glad to see it on the site!

Taxes!? IN EQUSTRIA!? My perfect world is ruined....:fluttercry:



Well the funds for rebuilding and reconstruction after rampaging gods and megafauna has to come from somewhere...

This story was truly awesome! I don't care how unlikely it is; this Derpy-as-the-playwright scenario is my new headcanon for the Hearths Warming Eve episode! So congratulations for that, too!

The' double u' on my keyboard just broke... :fluttercry:

4767076 two things are serten in this world: death and tax

Man, I remember reading this story during or perhaps after the write-off. I completely forgot I never read it here.

4768896 it's spelled certain, and there is a third thing. Failure. Everyone fails at something.

Still my favorite of the bunch for that writeoff. This just has so many elements that I like, even though it uses a character I don't particularly enjoy. Good job, as always, Pasc.

That ending really brushes me wrong. Way to sucker the desperate for several times more worth of their time and money. Derpy's initial estimate - the script alone - was roughly worth what she owed. Then Celestia suckered her into good four times that much worth of contributions.

And so, next year Derpy might want to avoid being another 418 bits short - and she'll know better than try to "contribute to the society", nearly doubling the cost in cash plus probably a good triple that amount in her work time. Let Ponyville find a different sucker for a mailpony, with Derpy taking up on that grant offer and then performing some creative Hollywood Accounting. Learning from the head of the state.

To quote Bill and Ted: Excellent!:coolphoto:
*guitar solo*
This is goin' in the favorites.

Seeing Celestia quietly supporting Derpy behind the scenes, even after their initial meeting, was great.

4633911 I loved this... but I am confused by something...

After your comment, the comments jump three weeks, and I only saw it on the feature list today... Is Masked a time traveler?

Masked read it while it was still unpublished. Though it's quite possible she's a time traveler and just did that two weeks from now.

Loved it. A great story of best pony being best pony, with the support of Ponyville and princess alike. Thank you for it. :derpytongue2:

Now I wonder how bad her tax bill was the following year, after she destroyed Town Hall...

Really charming story, and I didn't piece together the show connection until the last moment. Nicely done!

I had a feeling that I knew what she was writing about, but it was still charming. Finding it a little hard to believe what would happen to her on opening night would happen to her, but overall, this story's still very good. Good characterization within the fanon. Nice premise. Grammar's up to snuff. Nine out of ten.

Aww. I like it, very realistic within the bounds of the show.

My only concern is what would happen if humans implemented the "labor instead of cash" tax system... nations would collapse overnight. :pinkiesad2:

Loved it. This was a very unique Derpy fic, I have to say. The idea that she was the playwright behind the Hearth's Warming Eve pageant gave me a warm fuzzy.:derpytongue2: Nicely done.

I really hate to say this, because I do like this story, but pretty much the whole time I was thinking 'Why doesn't she just do odd-jobs, or even get a temporary second job? Surely that would have required significantly less effort than attempting to put a halfway decent play together, from scratch mind you, and then trying to run it all on a shoestring budget!'

Don't get me wrong, this was a fun story and I still really like it, but something about the whole scenario just bothers me.

Seems that provision in the tax code is a bit of a catch-22 in this instance, but she still succeeded in bringing something wonderful to the world.

You could ask the same kind of "Wouldn't it be more logical for X?" question of a number of canon episodes, so I don't consider it fair to judge this story by that standard when a number of canon episodes don't live up to it themselves.

I would presume its because writing the play is something she *wanted* to do. It was made clear that she could have paid the taxes either way, and just spent less on herself for the rest of the year... And if she didn't want to spend less on herself, she could always pick up odd jobs whenever to earn more money.

So she essentially was given the opportunity to design her own odd job creating something for the nation. She clearly got more out of doing it than she would working a fast-food shift.

I don't think you've got the math quite right. Derpy owes 418 bits, and because of that, Celestia gives her a grant of 418? In other words, she'd actually be better off if she owed a million bits.

I think what you meant to say is that the play has to generate a profit of 418, and Derpy's budget is something like 40 bits. Or, you could keep 418 and bump up Derpy's debt to 4,000

Celestia didn't give her any money at all. She just forgave the tax debt, and it's up to Derpy to manage her budget so that she spends less than that and comes out ahead.

One down! This was really cute. I don't know how I didn't realize sooner that it was the Hearth's Warming pageant. Feel kinda dumb now :facehoof:

Not at all! It's entirely intended that the reader not figure out what play she wrote until opening night.

Cute idea, having Derpy be the playwright for Hearth's Warming, but the tax bit to get there... it's either designed by an idiot or a thief. Not only is there reason to believe she's getting screwed from the initial number, but the fact the she spent almost double is a little absurd. Yes, you have Celestia pretty much saying she'll pay her for all the work, but it's still a ludicrous amount of time and money to spend to pay off a probably false tax bill. I know it's all a plan to get ponies to be more civic minded and foster hidden talent, but the way it was done is just messed up.

Maybe so, but ludicrous is in the eye of the beholder. It was Derpy's choice to go through with it, and Celestia gave her fair warning that she was unlikely to stay within budget. And Derpy herself said it was worth it. Plus, Celestia made her provide progress reports and visited her somewhat anonymously afterward, specifically for the purpose of evaluating how the project is going and how the subject feels about it. If she felt like things were getting out of control, she would have put a stop to it. I don't know where you're getting the part about the tax bill probably being false. Celestia would have checked before approving it. This is the first time she's ever allowed, after all. She'd turned down the two previous applicants, either because they hadn't offered anything of enough value or (more probably) had proposed to take on something far too ambitious.

Hilarious and adorable. :yay:


Any project financed by this tax exemption is unlikely to be logical in a strictly time-and-money sense, which is why petitions on it are rarely made and rarer granted.

I'd bet that at least one if not both of the petitions that Princess Celestia refused came from a rich pony promising to do something that could be done on a shoestring, which would therefore be wildly profitable from the POV of somepony with a larger tax burden.

Though, since everypony was being nice and under-charging, How did it get so expensive? :applejackconfused::derpyderp2:

Yes, and Celestia addressed this point in the law: of equal or greater value. If you owe a million bits, you have to do something she considers worth that much.

4796391 If you normally get a refund and suddenly you are owing the IRS $400, something is going on.

I enjoyed the fact that we, the readers, didn't know that the play would be the canon Hearth's Warming Eve play, so I fell under the same category of thinking "blech, a historical play? sounds boring". You can imagine my utter surprise once my head clicked when Derpy was waving at the crowd behind the curtain. I was very dumbfounded once I realized the quick assumption I made to the notion of learning about history through classical theatrics. It all sounds so dull in this day and age, when in fact, a historical play can be quite amusing and educational, after thinking back to how much I loved the Hearth's Warming Eve episode. This story is amazing in more ways than one. :twilightsmile:

Seeing a swing of less than $500 is not unusual at all. Like Derpy said, it's probably a change in the tax law. I've certainly seen larger year-to-year changes than that.

Now I can't see that episode without thinking about this fix.:pinkiehappy:

4777990 Even so, unless she can do it for significantly less than 418, she's no better off - she's lost the money AND a significant amount of time.

On another note, perhaps you should have Derpy discover the law in a more obscure place like an old scroll in Twilight's library. It's really hard to believe that millenia have gone by and only three ponies have discovered this loophole, one of whom is cross-eyed.


Even so, unless she can do it for significantly less than 418, she's no better off - she's lost the money AND a significant amount of time.

Precisely why Celestia warned her. She explicitly said Derpy would have a difficult time of spending less than that, and it was Derpy's informed decision to take the risk. And who said the law was millennia old?

4806744 Not explicitly, granted, but the way

“Only two have even made such a petition, and I denied both

is phrased to me implies that it's been around for a great deal longer than Derpy has.

There's no time frame mentioned. She could have meant within the past year. I decided to leave it vague, but in my head, it's been there for five to ten years.

With this as part of the tax code the assumption is the Mane 6 don't pay taxes.
:trollestia: - Now what is Carousel Boutique's contribution to Equestrian Society?
:raritywink: - I helped end your family feud and keep Equestria from Eternal Darkness.
:trollestia: - Good.. Good.. now ...what is Sweet Apple Acres contribution to Equestrian Society?
:ajsmug: - Ahhh, shucks thats easy... Apples!
:trollestia: I'll take it... and Twilight what is your contribution?
:twilightangry2: - I got punched through a mountain.... and freed you from Hell!
:trollestia: - I'm sorry ... changing the Equestrian Landscape doesn't count.

When Derpy fills out her tax return, she finds that she owes quite a bit of money. However, she seems to have an alternative way of settling the debt. She might even have fun.

*Alondro's mind instantly goes into the gutter*


You know, there are a couple of my stories that I couldn't come up with a synopsis that wouldn't sound dirty to the right kind of ear. "Pilgrimage" was the other.

Hee, figured out what the play was quite early on, but it was still sweet seeing Derpy work so hard to pull it all together.

This is the sort of thing Derpy is made for; a simple, misunderstood mare who always does the best she can, while not quite fully comprehending the whole of the world around her. :derpytongue2:

4798209 A fair numner of people in the USA had that happen to them recently when the rates were raised for income over a certain amount.

And then one has to take into account the effects of local taxes, changes to SSI, Medicare, and unemployment deductions, and investments and alterations to codes regarding deductibles.

It can be tricky!

All true, but you have to take into account that the change from getting a refund to owing hundreds of dollars would be a very drastic shift in tax law. In this case we assume that Derpy is single with one child dependent, with no changes in her income or living conditions. So either Celestia purposefully targeted the working class for tax hikes, or the math is wrong, as we hear no other complaints about their tax bill being increased outrageously.

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!