This borders on frivolous. The Pew Research Center asked 1,003 people what they thought about doing their taxes and predictably most of them (us) don’t like to. The reasons given are:
1. It’s a hassle.
2. It takes too much time.
3. It’s too complicated.
4. They might make a mistake.
5. They don’t like how the government is spending their money.
6. They pay too much.
Digging into the numbers reveals a little more, however. The higher the income, the less the earners like doing their taxes. Republicans and Independents dislike doing them more than Democrats do. And seven out of ten regardless of income or party affiliation thinks it’s morally wrong to cheat on taxes. That, however, is down from eight out of ten who thought so just 6 years ago.
I wonder if these numbers would change if more Americans had read “The Law That Never Was” by Bill Benson. After years of research Benson came up with convincing proof that the 16th Amendment was never properly or completely ratified. And I also wonder if the numbers would change if the government hadn’t established withholding which allows the government to get paid first.
Finally, I wonder if the numbers would even be worse (Pew says that a third of Americans actually like doing their taxes!) if they weren’t getting a refund. I never could figure that part out. Why would anyone overestimate his withholding in order to get a refund? It’s like making an interest-free loan to the IRS, and it implants the idea that your money isn’t really yours until the IRS says it’s yours.
I got that message in 1956 when I worked on a Canada Dry delivery truck. I was 16 and earned an astonishing $20 per day and the outfit I worked for paid in cash. I worked five days and was excited to see what a $100 bill looked like. Imagine my surprise when I got my pay envelope and it had change in it. Change? Oops, sorry about that. I didn’t earn $100, I earned $89 and change. The IRS got into my envelope first.
Now you know how I really feel about doing my taxes, despite what I wrote about it yesterday.