Taxes, Part Deux! Or, they don't even understand it.

On this day, the eve of when Federal elections should be held, I offer this. A skewed opinion piece strutting as reporting or journalism based on references, but all of Congress is guilty.

Even tax-writing lawmakers don’t want to fill out tax returns.

I went off a bit in the other thread and haven’t cooled very much. As stated the tax code, as it were, is so fucking bloated it’s little more than a joke. Or a way to just hoodwink people into thinking they’re getting a deal each year when their CongressCritter delivers some new break. And don’t give me any partisan shit, the tax code is passed by both parties.

Oh, and don’t give me shit about the US being one of the lowest taxed nations overall. I’m not complaining about the amount of tax, I’m complaining about the overall tax code and what needs to be done to get a filing done.

I’ve given up on any real tax reform ever happening. Tax code simplification means removing pages and pages of text. Not adding pages and pages of text. Those pages, in bulk, making exceptions to the other thousands of pages already on record. (This is simplified and broad, work with me.)

Instead of repealing part of the code, we add to the code with pages of how to avoid the previous code. Of course, this usually involves filing more forms, knowing which forms to file this year, and the time and wherewithal to know how the fucking form needs to be filled out.

And God help your sorry-ass if you miss a form or don’t complete it correctly. Any guess why the dipshits that write the fucking law hire professionals to make sure they file correctly? Because it’s so far out of hand they don’t understand it! Again, a “Tax Professional” should be one of the most underutilized workers in the majority of American’s lives.

We not only have to pay the taxes (a given that even I concede, it has to come from somewhere), but many people need a professional to prepare and file it? I realize some get help from volunteers and don’t have to pay any extra in filing, but what the fuck about the volunteers doing the prep and filing? And the semi-volunteers (AARP, etc. that get something out of membership dues), couldn’t that money be spent better elsewhere other than crawling to DC hoping not to get screwed?

I went to H&R Block this year to see what they could do. We ended up owing $284.00. I already figured it was going to be something along those lines, but they wanted $140 to file it.

I went to the IRS page and chose Turbo Tax as I could e-file for free. Somehow, with them we owe $330.00 to DC.

Somehow, the two well-known companies came up with an amount difference of $46.00. Why? Turbo-Tax is approved by the IRS, so it must be reasonably accurate. H&R Block was approved by them as well. But somehow if I paid $140 one could save me $46.00 :rolleyes:

And we have a pretty straight-forward 1040 we filed. Not a 1040-A or 1040-EZ, but pretty straightforward, nonetheless. Yet, the tax code is so fucking convoluted, we’re paying something like 16% more to the government because we don’t want to spend $140.00 to go $96.00 further into debt in this whole fiasco.

If I hear one more Goddamned whine about tax-cuts and whom they benefit and whom should pay more, I’m going to snap. Simplify the fucking tax code.

Reduce the number of forms/deductions/exemptions/exceptions/etc a person can take. All these tax loopholes are nothing but pandering to certain groups, organizations and citizens that have to jump through hoops and defend if they ever get audited. The tax code is, was and will be in the foreseeable future a game of 3-card-monty. Creating new taxes only to turn around and create ways to avoid them. It’s all masturbatory, and it’s ridiculous.

I think I have some ideas to simplify it (not just a flat-tax), but I’m too frustrated, demoralized and pissed off to post any here. At least not yet.

Again, elections should be help the day after elections. We keep arguing over what needs to be done in this country to a bunch of douchebags that spen a good amount of time coming up with yet another hoop for us to jump through to try to justify what we earn by going to work everyday. I’d sure like some of the bennies Congress gets.

Hell, I’d like enough money to not have to budget having my taxes done. Assholes.

And it was like this for decades.
Never let it be said of me I won’t support a Democrat when he makes sense.

Now that’s a Dem I could vote for. Based on this single issue alone.


You know what I meant.

This is an idea I’ve been in favor of for a long time.

Never going to happen though, I’m afraid. Incumbents would have to realize that the odds of their having to go out and find a real job would be substantially higher if their constituents were voting the day after wrestling with a bunch of damn tax forms and either writing the government a check or realizing they’ve been loaning the government a pile of cash interest free for the past year.

You make alot of good points…

I beleive (you do not) that the tax rate is too high. This sickens me! Because there are many millionaires running this country, I see NO relief and because millionaires run this country I feel I am not being represented. Taxation without representation and so it goes.

The OP is correct.

IMO, one way to eliminate a bunch of complexity is to pitch corporate taxes into the trash can:

  1. They don’t bring in that much money anyway.

  2. You would eliminate the double taxation of dividends in one stroke.

  3. You would eliminate the government funding (relatively, not absolutely) of all kinds of crap because an expense would be an expense–period.

  4. You would eliminate the disparity in treatment between debt financing and equity financing, because there would be no deduction for interest expense.

  5. You would eliminate the desire of companies to offshore for tax reasons.

FICA and all that other crap also needs to be blown out of the water. Income should be income. All we need are simple progressive tax brackets and some basic personal deductions and deductions for children and dependents. That’s it.

To think that America can fix the problem is to think that America can end its stagnation and decline. I’m not going to bank on the notion.

Actually, I really don’t I assumed you typed “help” instead of “held”, but the phrase “elections should be held the day after elections” still makes no sense to me, unless you’re proposing we elect a new government every day.

I don’t know if the tax rate is too high, but a whole lot of the tax code seems absolutely backwards. For instance, if you have children, you pay less. The more children you have the less you pay (up to a certain point, I assume. I hope.). Yet children are people, and people are a burden on the systems the taxes go to pay for…not too much of a burden because they’re small. But still.

So a lot of our tax code is going for things our elected government perceived as socially responsible such as home ownership and having children. Why?

In case anyone’s wondering I am both a homeowner and a parent and you bet I take the exemptions. I don’t think they should be there, but since they are, I take 'em.

And then. My husband sort of got a new job–well actually, same old job, but the company he works for kind of switched entities on him. So he had three different sets of W2s. And going through them, it turns out than when the switch happened, something went awry with his W4 and not enough was being deducted. So…not only do we owe money, but we may be subject to a penalty, or not, depending on several quite overly complicated variables that the IRS even admits are so complicated that taxpayers would be best off just sending the return and letting them decide if a penalty is called for or not.

WTF? The tax liability is XXX. We had payroll deductions amounting to almostXXX and we’re sending the balance in today, the deadline–right? For a total of XXX, the entire tax liability. I cannot figure out why we would have to pay a penalty for not having enough deducted. I wish to god we had had enough deducted, because even though I know it’s only getting my own money back I love getting a refund and have come to count on it. But what really gets me is that it’s so complicated I can’t even tell if I need to pay one, let alone how much it is. I’m guessing the IRS will decide I do need to pay one, though. I mean, what are the odds?

And then, it took me about 45 minutes to figure out a fairly simple return, less the maybe-penalty, creating an Excel spreadsheet so I wouldn’t make any math errors. It took another 45 minutes to gather all the W2s, Schedules As, Schedule Bs, etc., copy them, arrange them, make sure they were in the correct fucking order, find a goddamned 24-cent stamp (or whatever it was) because the goddamned forms were a titch over one ounce once I got it all tofuckinggether … at about that point I ******************** [deleted so I won’t break forum rules or get seized for sedition].

Okay, the amount? Well let me think about that. For the government I get? Too much.
The hassle? The opposite of priceless.

If elections were held the day after tax filing day I would vote the bastards out. But then I do that anyway. Or try to.

Go here and click on the “Power Player” video. Sorry, I can’t find a full transcript like you can for Meet the Press. Anyway, if I remember correctly, the head of the IRS makes the argument that the politicians will never simplify the tax code because the way it is each politican can claim to his constituents that in some way they’re getting a break that the rest of the nation isn’t.


A friend of mine has been ordering online cigarettes over the past year. He was made aware that these were state taxable. He wanted to be fully compliant with the law and pay the taxes. But in trying to figure out his use tax, the state has barely more than this to say (paraphrased): “Cigarettes may incur excise tax of $1.50 per pack, and possibly some other taxes as well.” They don’t know? They’re not telling us? Bet when my friend gets audited they figure out a nice exact number for the penalties and late fees.

OK, more of a state tax gripe than a fed, but those guys suck equally as much.


The fuckers screwed up my taxes for 2001 so completely that I ended up having to file for bankruptcy, and they didn’t even have the decency to be embarassed about it!!! Don’t EVER use H&R Block, and warn all your friends about their bloody incompetence.

I read somewhere that the total cost of tax return season in the US (accouting fees, tax software, time, blood sweat and tears, etc.) was something insane like $100 billion plus per year - just for the paperwork, never mind the economic costs of all the distortions built into it. Can’t google up a cite for it though - maybe just a figment of my addled imagination.

Do any other countries have tax codes as insane as ours?

holding out hand

Hmm. The wind is blowing, the skies are darkening, and I just felt a drop. Feels like it’s going to backstory.

There are a few where people just show up at your door with guns and help themselves to your property, but as far as I am aware the only contender among countries with actual legal processes is probably Germany. Which is the most bonkers I have no idea, since I’ve never experience either and they are both legendary.

The tax is insanely complicated. This year, we had to file returns for DC and VA, which made things rather painful.

Relax, I’ll spare you the back story. But please do bad mouth H&R Block every opportunity you get. I’ll take it as a personal favor if you do. (And ask around. There’s a lot of horror stories about 'em.)

Actually, I’d like to hear it. As long as it’s not overly pedantic.

A friend of mine is an auditor for the IRS. Basically, she said that most of the people she has to deal with because they screwed up their taxes went to H&R Block. I believe that she and most of her colleagues believe that company is the devil.

In other news, I don’t see what’s so hard about the tax system. Took me ten minutes to do my taxes - by hand, no computer.

My kids have some money in their names - college funds, invested in various stocks and funds, all managed by 1 broker in a single account for each kid.
This year their funds each earned enough over the minimum, that they had liability ~ $10 each.
I figured I’d see if itemization would save the $30 liability. I don’t know how many forms and reams of instructions later, I decided my time was worth way more than $30, and just cut the check.
Short-term vs. long-term gains, domestic vs int’l funds, etc., etc…
Then you realize that there are folk out there who style their lifes and investments specifically to take advantage of these goofy-ass provisions.
Hard to believe these distinctions actually convey any significant benefit to the economy as a whole.

Add me to the group who does not object to the total amount of taxes I pay.
But I do object that it shouldn’t be so complicated - I do not believe there should be an economic advantage for folks who are sophisticated and aggressive enough to identify and take advantage of obscure loopholes and exceptions.