Income Tax Rant: IRS Discourages Success

Every year about this time I can be an unpleasant person to be around. I know it is not the “Christian” thing to do but I get very crabby around mid to late January. The reason is that I have already begun thinking about the dreaded circle of Hell known as preparing my tax return. Many people are anxious for tax time because they are looking forward to their sizable return and putting it to good use. I am anxious for preparing my income taxes for another reason.The reason I am anxiously await the arrival my W-2’s is one of time. The moment I get my W-2 I have the most time before April 15. At that moment the countdown begins. A countdown to what? Oh you haven’t heard, have you? The Horne household has had to pay in to the federal government every single year since 2002. Yes, that was the last year that we received any money back. So I whenever I receive all of the necessary forms, I fill out our income tax information as quickly as possible so that we will know how much we owe and so that we will have the maximum amount of time to save up for it.

Now I try and rejoice with my friends who have children whenever they discuss the incalculable thousands they are getting back on account of having children. I hope that while I am scraping pennies between January 31 and April 15 that they are happy purchasing their new cars, making extra payments on their mortgages and picking out their 52” plasma TV’s and surround sound systems. And I know what you are thinking, you little devil. Why do we not just save ourselves the trouble and have a baby? That is a very good question with a very simple answer. There seems to be something very shallow and selfish about deciding to have a child based on a reason like tax refunds. I can see it now:

Child: Daddy, why did you and mommy decide to have me?

Me: Well son/daughter, it’s like this: we were paying way to much in taxes. I mean, of course we love you and all, but Uncle Sam was really eating our lunch…lunch money, that is. *mild chuckle* So as you see honey, you can thank the federal government and daddy’s discontent with the tax system for your existence. Now run along and play.

Not exactly the kind of father-child talk I ever want to have. Indeed I would not make a decision like having a child based on taxes. But I have caught myself thinking other boneheaded things. I have actually thought more than once lately that I hope with Lyndsay’s change in jobs that we made less this year than last year so that we will not owe as much in taxes. Huh!? I hope that I made less this year? That is just downright unamerican. It goes against what I believe as a red-blooded capitalist. The IRS is actually discouraging success. Or try this one on for size: perhaps I should have given more to Goodwill so that I would have larger write-offs. How charitable!

I am beginning to believe Bill O’Reilly when he says that a consumption tax system (like the FairTax) may be a better, fairer plan, but it will probably never be instituted. Or if it is, it will not be in our lifetime. The current system is to large and too embedded in the social consciousness. Because of withholding we do not see the money leaving our hands and because of refunds we think the government is somehow doing us a favor. But in actuality the IRS is causing disillusionment with success and advancement and causing me to personally dread income.

But I ain’t bitter.

Josh H.

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