taxes1When this posts … at least if you are one of the first few readers of the day … I will be in my accountant’s office going through the paperwork he needs to do my 2013 taxes.  Bob has been my accountant since I formed my own consulting company back in 1999 and paying quarterly estimated taxes brought the possibility of the IRS’s punitive underpayment penalties.  Bob is an excellent accountant … he’s saved my britches on several occasions when peculiar situations turned up in my tax records and he’s advised me well on business tax matters … and he’s a very nice man.  None-the-less, the week leading up to my meeting with him is my least favorite times of the year because with my income varying from year to year, I’m always uncertain how much I’ll owe.  No, I won’t be getting any money back … I’m not in the business of giving Uncle Sam no-interest loans.  I pay the amount that Bob tells me will avoid penalties and nothing more.

I am not, however, one of those people who, as CNN says, seem to increasingly treat taxation as a something close to a crime committed by the ruling class.  I don’t have to do much searching on the internet to learn that by international standards, particularly among developed nations, U.S. citizens are relatively lightly taxed.   We have excellent roads and infrastructure, effective law enforcement, capable national defense, and reasonable public services given the size of our country.  While I don’t believe in government sponsorship of a massive redistribution of wealth, I firmly believe that an affluent society should help its less fortunate citizens.  This all costs money and that money comes from taxes.  Of course, government waste drives me crazy, as do politicians that treat themselves like the ruling class we’re not supposed to have as a democracy.  Naturally, finding a balance between government and individual rights, between capitalism and socialism to satisfy a diverse citizenry is a continuing process (Spare me, OK?  We haven’t been a purely capitalist society in decades).  Democracy costs money.

Oh, yeah, I’ll moan and groan if Bob calls me before April 15th and tells me I owe thousands of dollars.  I’ll hate sending money that could pay for a nice vacation to a government that seems to forget sometimes that it is our money.  I’ll be happy to listen to anyone who has a way to simplify the tax filing process or eliminate government waste.  But being an American costs money … and perhaps a few moans and groans … as well as belief in some rather cherished principles, all of which seem to get forgotten in this era of partisanship and American angst.  So, I try not to complain too much.  Still, I can’t resist posting my traditional tax season video:

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5 Comments on “Taxing”

  1. jenihill Says:

    Gotta agree with you on this post. Right now, being on Social Security and not having a “job” per se, I am fortunate in that I don’t have to mess with the IRS these days. But, one thing that really raised my ire a few years back, reading many posts from people in a group I sort of belonged to back then about how they wanted virtually no taxes but yet, had no suggestions as to how to fund many of the services government -federal, state and/or local -provides all of us -police, firemen, community hospitals, government agencies that are necessary to everyone! The taxes we pay may seem like a terrible burden to so many but one has to put the whole thing into perspective as in what would we do without these various services that are part and parcel of life in this country anyway? Good attitude about this topic, Bud!

    • oldereyes Says:

      Thanks, Jeni. I think we have reached a phase in our national story where many people think government is somehow free or, if it costs money, that someone else should pay for it. It isn’t free and if you endorse larger government, eventually everyone pays for it. For my own sanity, I try to keep perspective.

  2. The complexity of the tax code is mind-boggling, but so are the various breaks of which one can take advantage. For me, that’s the most objectionable part: the fact that, relatively speaking (indulge me – I know you’re not “wealthy”) the most wealthy among us are really the only ones who can afford an accountant to tell them how to avoid paying more in taxes. Despite programs for assistance, we truly do, regularly, via policy, code and enforced ignorance, balance the budget on the backs of the poor.

    I use TurboTax Deluxe to file, and the simple fact that I’m in school – regardless of the fact that the state pays my tuition because they don’t pay me a great salary – gave me a bigger return than the fact that I spent the last 12 months paying a 30-year fixed mortgage at 4%. I felt like I was stealing.

    I hope the IRS doesn’t read this. But they said it was okay!

    • oldereyes Says:

      You don’t have to apologize for calling me wealthy …. my siblings think of me as Rich Buddy. While I’m not quite rich, I have more than I ever imagined. There are several “gray areas” in self-employment taxes that affect LLCs like my company and my accoountant keeps me on the safe side of the gray. But, jeez, he’s a lot more expensive than Turbotax.

  3. cherperz Says:

    Yesterday I spent the afternoon in my accountant’s office going over the stack of assorted forms that could be mistaken for a book.

    I do agree that is takes money to run a country and provide it’s residents with a strong infrastructure, national defense, etc. but I have to say my irritation at government waste and the funding of inefficient and ineffective programs has eclipsed my sense of “happily paying my share”.

    Perhaps the affluent do have a responsibilty for supporting the less fortunate but there is a lot of gray area there. A LOT…I could go off on a whole post here but let’s leave it at that….I currently have a really cynical attitude. Just to clarify, I didn’t send in my 82 pages of tax returns signed “Sealed with a Kiss, your devoted friend…Cheryl

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