There is a colloquialism that accurately describes our process of calculating, filing, and paying our federal taxes. I can’t say the term in mixed company, but it involves a large number of simians all having sexual relations at the same time.
There are so many things wrong with the IRS, our tax codes, and our attitudes about how we funnel money to our government, that this is one of those “Don’t Get Me Started” things.
Too late, I started.
At last estimate, only about 36% of taxpayers prepare their own returns. Most Americans would rather pay somebody else to file their returns than do it themselves, blindly trusting that the tax preparer will accurately calculate the correct tax. Many advertize that they will get you a bigger refund than the tax guy down the street! The taxpayers don’t know how to file, don’t want to know, and will do anything to avoid it, including handing over their checkbooks to a total stranger named Block.
Waterboarding? Ha! They should have made Khalid Sheik Mohammed fill out a Schedule D!
We are not only forced to pay part of our hard-earned money to the government, we are also forced to pay somebody else to decide how much we are forced to pay to the government! Even though many taxpayers could file a simple, one-page “simple” form, they are too afraid. Or they have gone to public schools, where learning about anything with a dollar sign attached is really frowned upon.
Business tax reporting is even worse.
For instance, when a business buys equipment, it can “write off” the cost over a period of years, which reduces income and, thereby, taxes. If the government allowed the entire cost to be deducted immediately, it would seriously reduce their cash flow. So our big-spending brothers and sisters in DC make businesses spread the cost over a number of years. How many years? Well, nobody knows. There is no chart where you can look up the depreciation percentage or number of years for, say a new widget-making machine. There are chapters and paragraphs and exceptions and alternatives and recaptures – but nowhere is there a simple chart that a human being can understand. Only the accountants can conjure up an answer, and ten different accountants will come up with ten different answers. The IRS doesn’t really care – ten IRS agents will come up with ten more completely different answers.
Even more strange – our tax “police” send out checks to anybody and everybody who requests a refund, without checking first to see if the filer is a citizen, has a job, or has already received thousands of refunds at the same address. The IRS doesn’t even attempt to collect the $1 billion in past due taxes owed by federal employees – Geez, guys, all you need to do is deduct them from their paychecks!
All I can say about our tax system is HOW BIZARRE! Candidates talk about more taxes or less taxes. But why isn’t anybody (other than Herman Cain) talking about our crazy tax system?
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side