If every American received a tax bill for the entire year payable on April 15 there would be a tax revolt. People would start thinking about government spending and waste. People who receive a paycheck every week get used to living on their take home pay, so they don’t notice the bite taxes take from their income the way self-employed people do. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a revolt over all of the time, money and effort that goes into just figuring out your tax liability.
Two. Billion. Hours.
That’s how much time people in the Land of the Free waste each year preparing and filing their tax forms to the IRS– roughly 13 hours for each of the ~150 million individual returns filed.
And if you’re doing your own taxes this weekend, it may certainly seem like you’ve spent that 2 billion hours yourself just preparing your 1040.
To put this number in perspective, two billion hours is roughly the time it would take to walk to Uranus and back… which is a bit ironic given where you’d probably like to tell Mr. Obama to go stick his tax forms right about now.
Now, I’m not going to tell you today that taxes are illegal. Nor will I tell you that you don’t have to file.
I think taxes are morally reprehensible. Taxes rob an entire population of its financial resources in favor of a tiny political elite that has a long-term track record of incompetence and deceit.
Unfortunately, though, this humiliating exercise is forcibly perpetrated at gunpoint. So not filing your taxes can lead to very bad consequences. Just ask Richard Hatch. (Read it all)
It is a humiliating exercise, I know first hand. I’ll spare you the details but we just found out we owe a lot of money, on top of what we have already paid, and it sucks. Big time. We also have a client who refuses to pay the thousands of dollars he owes us. Again, I’ll spare you the details, but the money we’re sending to the government is money that would have been a cushion to help absorb this unexpected non-payment. It’s money that will not be going back into the economy. We will not be going on vacation this year. We will not be doing some work on our house that we planned to do. We’re thankful that we have enough to make payroll. Hopefully we’ll have enough to pay our bills next month.
I don’t know which infuriates me more, the government taking so much of our hard earned money, or the dead beat client. The government can imprison us if we don’t pay, so we will pay. We can’t imprison the client.
I wonder if anyone has ever added up all the money they’ve paid in taxes over a lifetime – federal and state income taxes alone would be enough to fund a comfortable retirement. Payroll tax. Property tax. Gas tax. Cell phone tax. Hotel room tax. Sales tax. I could go on and on. What do we, the people who work for a living, get for it? Meager Social Security benefits that might not be there for the next generation. Public employee pensions. Bigger government that makes health insurance more expensive. A government that makes us buy dangerous light bulbs. Armed standoffs on cattle ranches. An NSA that exploits security flaws while leaving us vulnerable to hackers. Disruptions in the power grid that could result in blackouts and brownouts.
I know we need some government. But this much government? I know we need to pay some taxes. But this much? On everything?
It’s so hard to get ahead in this economy. If you get ahead just a little bit it’s snatched away. By a dead beat government. By a dead beat client. If you complain you’re called an extremist, while well heeled leeches make a killing by selling access to those selling out the rest of us.
I think federal and state tax withholding should be abolished. That way everyone would feel the pain on the same day every year, and vote accordingly.
Update: For those of you who are new here, I should probably clarify that this blog brings in very little revenue. My husband runs a small home remodeling contracting business. I do the books for him, and have another part time job that’s been on and off due to the economy.