SAULSBURY, Tn. – A fourth grader in Hardeman County made local headlines last week when he agreed to file federal tax returns for more than eighty fellow residents and a handful of businesses in his hometown of Saulsbury, Tennessee, for a third consecutive year.
“Ricky says he’ll have everyone’s taxes prepared and submitted by January 1st,” Louise Barnes, a former grocery store cashier and mother of the nine year-old prodigy, told the Bolivar Bulletin-Times. “He’s so good with numbers,” Ms. Barnes explained, adding that Ricky, who is home-schooled, is at the top of his class and is extremely proficient at arithmetic. “It’s like, every time I turn around he’s counting something.”
While some in Saulsbury admit they were initially skeptical about the idea of entrusting a nine year-old child with their federal income tax returns, almost everyone is thankful they did. “He saved me fifteen thousand dollars last year,” Saulsbury mayor Peter R. Campbell told the Bulletin-Times. “Sure, he charges a bit more than H&R Block but, believe me, the kid is worth it.” A former used car salesman turned politician, Campbell said he regularly recommends Ricky Barnes’ services to his constituents. “I tell ’em, ‘This kid is a g-d dang miracle worker,” he said.
For his part, the prepubescent fourth grader doesn’t consider himself a miracle worker. Ricky Barnes simply likes numbers. “It’s fun,” the nine year-old revealed during an exclusive interview with Real News Right Now. “I can fill out forms and I get to use my calculator.” Ricky said his favorite number is seven, although he later conceded he doesn’t know why. “Maybe it’s because it reminds me of a platypus,” he said, quickly adding, “Or an ostrich!”
Conveniently located off of Highway 57, the town of Saulsbury is home to just under one hundred residents and is ranked among the smallest towns in the nation. In 1999, the Tennessee Municipal League presented Saulsbury with an award for maintaining the longest history without a reported accident in the United States. The award has since been encased in marble and sits prominently in the town square.