Taxing Returns

I’m neck deep in my annual tax return preparations. The bad part is that I won’t get several documents for weeks yet–though I know they won’t affect the outcome of my calculations–since those numbers are already factored. However, I am reminded once again that we need a flat tax of some sort, preferably not even on income. The number of caveats and exceptions and exemptions and pure old-fashioned confusion which attends any attempt to understand the tax code as it applies to a financially average citizen is mind-numbing.

As I go through my helpful tax prep software (as someone who writes specifications for financial and other software) I am impressed by the amount of work which went into building all of the business rules necessary to make the calculations work. The back of that tapestry, as it were, is one remarkable skein of knots.

There is no reason we could not simplify the tax code–except for all the people (and I count myself among that number)–who are placed into groups for special treatment, special breaks, special stuff to satisfy this lobby and that one and the other one. Forget a color-blind nation, how about a group-blind nation? Just don’t worry about me as anything other than an individual. Call me a group of one. Make it a slogan. “You are/I am a Group of One.” Just do not continue to inflict such pain upon me with reference to taxation that I fear getting it wrong. And yes, fear is the operative word. And no, such a fear is not healthy–it is debilitating.

I’ve talked about it before. I do not wish for anarchy. I am not against government. I realize that government needs some type of taxation to fund its necessary and Constitutional responsibilities.

Let’s make the system of taxation as just as is possible, shall we? The current attempt to make things fair is anything but.

2 thoughts on “Taxing Returns

  1. I would abosolutely agree on the premise. I think a flat tax on income would be fine, perhaps the same percentage for everyone down to some determined poverty level, where the taxes trail off or stop all together. Simple, fair, done. I’m also interested to learn more about other options such as the “fair tax” I’ve heard of…I need to read that book.

    I imagine getting this changed, however, would be a monumental challenge. You’d be asking congresspeople to voluntarily give away some power to encourage/discourage behavior through taxing it. Not to mention the companies and accountants who are employed to help people through the current laborynth, and a huge IRS to watch it all. But I say – worth a shot.

    1. Odie,

      Please do read the fair tax book. It’s a quick read. I don’t think you would find your time wasted.

      Breaking away from merrie old England was also a monumental challenge–but the colonists managed to do precisely that. If enough people think it is worth doing, then I believe we can find new jobs for all the tax accountants, tax professors and IRS personnel.

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