As I write this, the calendar has flipped to April 15th – Tax Day, our national celebration day where we pay homage to Big Government programs, politics, government waste, cumbersome bureaucracy, and coffers bloated by the special interest groups.
As a tax professional, I try to avoid preparing Personal or Individual Income Tax returns. My business, Tax Traxx, specializes in business taxes, specifically Sales Tax matters in 45 states. Every year about his time, as other accountant-types work double or triple shifts busily preparing their clients’ Tax Returns, people say things to me like, “I know you’re really busy this time of year,” or “I know you’ll be glad when April 16th gets here.” Even though Personal Income Tax returns are not my specialty, I suffer along with the ever dwindling number of Americans who actually pay taxes.
I prepare an occasional 1040 or 1040EZ form for a client here or there. In fact, I did one today. Let me tell you a little story. Today’s example is a single 21-year-old, recently moved from home and working her first “real” job. Today’s subject had a little over $6,000 in earned income, and paid a little less than $200 in withholding throughout the year. In preparing her return, I realized that she was entitled to claim the full “Making Work Pay” credit, which is a $400 (max.) refundable credit. This whole thing about refundable credits is pure and simple Marxist wealth redistribution. Taxpayers can claim refundable credits that exceed the amount that they paid in withholding during the year, so that they possible receive a refund greater than the amount they paid in. In today’s example, the subject paid a little less than $100 in Withholding, but received a refund of nearly $500. If only she had been 25, she could have also claimed the “Earned Income credit” as well.
Where did that money come from? You and me, brethren.
That’s why every year about this time, I’m shocked when I hear someone say that they didn’t have to pay any taxes – they got ’em back! They say this, not realizing that each of their paychecks throughout the year was chock full of withheld taxes – money that would have been theirs, had our elected representatives not seen fit to confiscate said money and use it for whichever of their own self-serving political purposes they deem to be more worthwhile than allowing “working Americans” to manage their own money.
This is not meant to be a diatribe against taxation, or against the necessity to fund core government services (the basic functions required by the Constitution, not the fabricated social welfare programs that began to choke us after World War I and have never loosened their grip). There’s plenty of blogosphere out there to host the arguments of the proponents of all the different alternative solutions like the Fair Tax, flat tax options, value-added tax options, etc.
The simple fact remains that the current system is bad. Some would call it “fatally flawed” but I don’t think that is a strong enough description.
So, what will you do to “celebrate” the day today?