Tax Questions

IRS SuckYeah, it’s that time of year again. And everyone has “tax questions.” What can I deduct? Will I get audited? Will the IRS believe I adopted 17 kids this year?

But lets ask some more fundamental questions:

If I can book a round-the-world trip in under five minutes on the Internet, why does it take all weekend (or a professional CPA) to do my taxes? Seriously. Why does it have to be so complicated? Who benefits from this freaking nightmare of paperwork that every adult in the country is in some way saddled with? Lawyers, CPA’s, the IRS, and basically the government – that’s who. The more complex this stays the more of our money they can take. Sure, sure, sure … “only the rich get to take advantage of all those loopholes.” But what are they paying a CPA and tax attorney to get those breaks? And with all the information that is on file about us – especially since the Patriot Act kicked in – what could we possibly tell Them on a few sheets of paper that they can’t find out quicker by making a call to the CIA or NSA?

Why are they taking payroll deductions if I have to file a return anyway? I wouldn’t mind the deduction if it saved me having to file. It’d be almost a service – great, I don’t have to file and I don’t have to worry about not having enough to cover what I’ll owe. But no … They take our money every two to four weeks. If you’re self employed, at least you get to hang on to it for a quarter and earn interest before paying your estimateds. If you’re on salary, the Goverment gets your interest on your earnings, in addition to getting your money. What a crock.

Why do I have to pay for things I don’t want or need? Why should someone who is decidedly anti-war pay taxes that go to pay for “unpopular” wars? Why should someone who doesn’t have kids pay taxes that pay for schools for the kids for people who have 12 kids? Again, since the Goverment has such good visibility into our lives now, why not have certain tax allocations be voluntary. Check a box on the form that says: “Yup, I got 3 kids and I want to pay $1000 which goes to the Department of Education.” Or maybe check a box which says: “I commute 50 miles each way and I want to put in $500 for highway improvement.” Instead, the wealthiest end up paying for the poorest. Which is all very egalitarian and all – except that it promotes the notion that you are pretty much penalized for success. You are paying for other people’s services and getting nothing more for your tax dollar. Under that kind of regime, of course people will try to get out of paying – there’s nothing in it for them.

And, while we’re at it, how about making the President’s salary one of those check-boxes – if enough people think he’s doing a crappy job, he doesn’t get paid.

Can a Flat Tax system be any worse than what we have now? I mean, really, if all you could deduct on a personal return was kids, medical, and rent/mortgage we’d be done. You could file taxes as easy as you buy lottery tickets. The government would lose less money on tax collection and maybe we’d all pay less.

How come renters don’t get a tax break? Yes. At a time when prices for homes are insane – especially in states like California – many people have no choice but to rent. The rationale we’re given is that this “encourages people to buy houses” … which is inane in this day and age. When jobs are outsourced left and right and huge layoffs are happening all the time, fewer people can afford to put down roots anywhere. This part of the tax code is antiquated and retained only because it serves the rich.

Didn’t we fight a Revolutionary War over tax rates much lower that what we pay now? Yeah, pretty much. “No taxation without representation” and all that. Well, now we’re represented and its the people we send to Washington who are giving us the royal shaft. How any American can look at a budget proposal and say: “Yeah, 25% tax rate, sounds fair” is simply beyond me.