why taxes make me angry

Dealing with taxes always makes me angry.

Not so much because I am a dragon who may be about to part with money. I am fine with that. I like paying for my part of public goods. No, what makes me angry is that it’s super-complicated, and that all the robots that will help me deal with this complexity are maintained by companies that spend part of their profits on lobbying to keep the tax code as complicated as possible, so that they can continue to have a source of income.

It also does not help that there are multiple companies competing in this arena. Some with names that trigger my scam detector. All linked to from the IRS’ pages. Oh great, I get to make an extra choice on top of all the other decisions I am about to make – which tax software purveyor do I trust? Oh, to be able to just go to the official IRS site, authorize it to connect to various accounts, and be pretty much done with the process right then and there.

But no. We need to have “choice”. Just like we need to have “choice” in our health insurance options. Fuck lobbyists, and fuck every business whose sole raison d’etre is to get in the middle of an important part of the basic functions of living in a large society and find a way to siphon off as much money as possible.

And then I’m angry about politics and Citizens United and psychopaths who justify being acting in the interests of hateful corporations by wanking off to Ayn Rand and I just wanna flip a table and scream and rage and my taxes still haven’t been dealt with.

fills out form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and puts it in the mail

…I’ll deal with this later. Like, as much later as I possibly can.

  1. Many other countries have a much simpler system, and we could too. You’re right that we don’t because of lobbyists and special interests, and it’s sick.

    In those places, all your earnings are reported to the tax board, just as they are here. The tax board sends you a form saying, “Here’s how we’ve calculated your taxes. Sign this if you agree. Include payment if you owe.” If you agree, you sign, and send a check if needed. If you get a return, they mail it to you after your signature comes in.

    If you don’t agree, you’re welcome to fill out all the forms and do the tax calculations yourself. If you have information they don’t – unreported earnings, or charitable contributions, or something – you fill out a whole set of forms and sign them. They either approve them, or send back a letter and you work it out.

    For most people, it’s sign-and-done. For people with complications, there’s an easy way to go through them and make sure you get taxed properly.

    Our system sucks, and I hate it too.

    • Another factor here is conservative ideology. There’s an idea that taxes have to be visible and painful so that people understand they’re bad. This is also why in some places it’s illegal to sell goods with sales tax already figured into the price – it makes the tax less visible.

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