to help someone with his taxes

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by terbal, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. terbal Senior Member

    Girona - Catalunya - Spain
    Spanish - Catalan
    Could anyone please help me translate or understand this sentence?

    "I helped them [his in-laws] with their taxes two years running and even mowed their lawn".

    Does it mean he actually helped them pay their taxes? Or maybe that he helped them file their income tax return?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    Probably the latter. He helped them fill out the forms.
    Literally, it could mean he gave them money to pay their taxes with, but that seems less likely since the "help" is equated with a chore (mowing the lawn).

    Edit -
    Wandering J.J. rightly emphasizes that both interpretations are possible. I am only guessing above. The context may clarify it for you, terbal.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  3. Wandering JJ

    Wandering JJ Senior Member

    British English
    <br>Unfortunately it could mean either. I can't find any way of telling from that one sentence, and don't want to guess.<br>
  4. donbeto

    donbeto Senior Member

    Vancouver (Canada)
    Eng (Canada)
    Perhaps a little deductive reasoning might be in order.

    First, how do we know that they didn't receive a tax refund, so there were no additional taxes to be paid in the first place.

    Second, if there taxes to be paid, it seems to be that that is a bigger cross to bear than mowing their lawn. Yet, he says *even* mowed their lawn, like that was the biggest deal.

    Finally, if you actually paid somebody else's taxes, it seems to me that you would say exactly that, because that is a bigger deal than helping them file their taxes. So to me, helping them with their taxes suggests (very strongly I would argue) means helping them file their tax returns.

  5. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    I agree with donbeto. The natural interpretation, particularly since it is coupled with mowing a lawn, is that he helped prepare the tax returns.

    Now if he had said, "I helped them out with their taxes," I would take that as paying part or all the taxes for them.

    Sometimes what is not said helps to understand what is said.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  6. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    Efectivamente, con "out" se supondría que se trata de ayuda financiera.
  7. terbal Senior Member

    Girona - Catalunya - Spain
    Spanish - Catalan
    Thank you very much for your help.

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