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TAX TIME! 

TAX TIME! Mr. Outrage was confused. He had just filed his income tax forms and was reviewing them, as well as his overall income and expenses for 1997, with his financial advisor.  Their conversation follows:

Advisor: Look, we'll go through it step by step. Maybe that will help. First of all, the city says your house went up in value, so your real estate taxes increased.

Mr. Outrage: What do I pay those for? I send my kids to private school because the local public schools are teaching that Martin Luther King led the troops at Valley Forge. All the local cops do is pull me over for speeding. The streets have potholes and the local dog-catcher accidentally put our Great Dane to sleep.

Advisor: Well, your problem isn't the real estate taxes. Actually, in terms of local taxes, you probably paid more in sales tax. Plus, the real estate taxes are deductible against your state and federal income taxes, and the sales taxes aren't.

Mr. Outrage: Sales taxes? I thought those went to the state.

Advisor: Well, actually you pay two different sales taxes. When you eat out, you pay a state sales tax plus a meals tax.
Incidentally, you seem to be eating out a lot.

Mr. Outrage: Yeah, ever since my wife left me for the paperboy, I've been a regular at Mickey Dees and Burger King. But why do I pay an extra tax when I eat at fast food joints?

Advisor: Well, a meals tax is sort of a luxury tax. By taxing all you single people who eat out all the time the city can pay for
vital necessities, like the Easter egg hunt in the local park.

Mr. Outrage: What about the personal property taxes? They seem really high.

Advisor: Well, the local sales taxes and the real estate taxes weren't enough to pay for the new baseball stadium, so the city had to raise the personal property tax.

Mr. Outrage: But isn't the stadium privately owned? I'm sure it is - that guy that made six billion dollars when he co-founded
MacroHard owns it.

Advisor: Yes, it's privately owned. But real estate, personal property and local sales taxes aren't what's really killing you. Did you look at your business return?

Mr. Outrage: I did, but I still don't understand it. I was sure those sexual harassment insurance premiums were deductible.

Advisor: They are, but only in the event that your income is less than $82,764. And of course not if you qualify for the
alternative maximum income tax. Unless, of course, Jupiter is in the seventh moon, in which case you need to file form 32F.

Mr. Outrage: What are these penalties?

Advisor: You under-estimated your estimated tax. We had anticipated that you would have made less money than you did last year, but you made more, so you've got some problems.

Mr.Outrage: How can that be? I don't have any money left.

Advisor: You may also owe some alternative minimum tax.

Mr. Outrage: What! I thought that was to make sure Madonna and Bill Gates paid their fair share. What does it have to do with me?

Advisor: Quit complaining, the government provides lots of useful services. Didn't you see the PBS special, "Bill Clinton: A Moral Hero for our Times"?

Mr. Outrage: This is unbelievable. How did these taxes get so high?

Advisor: Well, some people complained about the National Endowment for the Arts paying millions of dollars for artists to
paint black canvases. But their defenders explained that a hundred million dollars was nothing, in the scheme of things.

Other people complained about farm subsidies and paying farmers not to grow crops. But the farmers protested: after all, as a percent of GNP, the subsidies weren't very much.

Of course, despite the fact that there are approximately 751,293 competing forms of private media, we couldn't do without National Public Radio. And then there's the cost of playing Globo Cop. A few hundred million here, a few hundred million there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

Mr. Outrage: What's this Social Security payment?

Advisor: It's to help out the older folks, so they don't eat dog food in their golden years.

Mr. Outrage: You mean like my great aunt Carol? The one that inherited the local shopping mall? Of course she never paid into the system.

Well, at least I'll be secure in my old age.

Advisor: No - actually, the system will be bankrupt by that time.

Mr. Outrage: I have to tell you, I'm just glad I still have my boat. If I didn't have some place to escape I think I'd just go
insane.

Advisor: You may need to sell that boat. They're thinking about implementing an annual luxury tax on boats.

Mr. Outrage: What are these capital gains? I didn't sell anything.

Advisor: Those are from your mutual funds.

Mr. Outrage: But I didn't sell any of my mutual funds.

Advisor: Doesn't matter. The mutual funds sold stocks within the funds, and as a mutual fund owner you're liable for their gains.

Mr. Outrage: How could there by any gains? The only funds I owned invested in Asia, and they're all worth less now than when I bought them.

Advisor: True, but they still managed to generate some capital gains in a vain attempt to make their poor performance look
better. Of course the companies in which they invest were also taxed by their national governments, but you got a partial exemption for the foreign taxes. Then, of course, the companies themselves paid corporate income tax.

Mr. Outrage: What about the Medicare tax?

Advisor: What about it?

Mr. Outrage: Where does it go?

Advisor: You've heard about those two doctors who embezzled $128 million and are now living on a yacht off the coast of Brazil?

Mr. Outrage: Yeah. What about them?

Advisor: That's where it goes.

Mr. Outrage: What about the taxes I paid on my phone? I paid a local tax to the city, a state tax that they call the Relay
Center Surcharge, and a federal tax.

Advisor: You forgot about the Federal Subscriber Line Charge.

Mr. Outrage: Let me try to get this straight. I pay real estate, sales taxes, and personal property taxes to the local government. I also pay sales taxes to the state government, as well as state income taxes. I pay federal income taxes, and they're talking about a federal consumption tax. I pay luxury taxes if I buy something expensive, meals tax if I eat at the burger joint, and
normal sales taxes on everything else.

When I use my phone I pay taxes to the city, state, and the feds. I pay taxes on income from my investments, despite the fact that those companies have already paid corporate income taxes. I pay taxes on my mutual funds, although the funds paid me no dividends and went down in value, and have already paid taxes to foreign governments. I pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, because what with all these other taxes I'd never be able to save for my retirement or medical expenses. If I don't pay enough using the regular calculations, I may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. If I don't estimate my taxes correctly I'll have to pay a
penalty, plus extra taxes.

This is all so incredibly complicated. How can you ever be sure you've really gotten it right?

Advisor: Well, you can never be totally sure. We run everything through a special software program designed to catch errors. We also do a fair amount of statistical regression analysis. And if it still doesn't feel right we howl at the moon, spin like
dervishes, and sing chants to the Tax Goddess.

Mr. Outrage: Look, I just want to leave something to my kids. What if I just commit seppuku?

Advisor: Unfortunately, I think you're looking at a fairly heavy estate tax burden.

Mr. Outrage: Any way to avoid the estate taxes?

Advisor: Well, you could give them annual gifts, but make sure you don't go over the limit or they'll incur gift taxes.

Mr. Outrage: Okay - what if I kill myself, liquidate all my assets and pay everything to the government. Could I leave my
organs to the boys?

Advisor: You could probably give them the entrails. But the government gets the heart and the brain has to go through probate court.

 

For some good examples of how your money is spent, see The Outrage Library Your Tax Dollars At Work.

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0 comments on “TAX TIME!

  1. if we have to pay taxes then why does some people get away with not paing taxes

    GERALD L. HEWETT, you are clearly an arrogant lout. Whether or not our written english allows us to be accepted by a self proclaimed academic elitist, such as your wonderful self, is not the point. The point is that we are human beings with souls, that care about injustices. Of course you wouldn’t appreciate such things since you obviously have no soul, and care more about condescending to your fellow human beings than injustice. This makes you cold, selfish, bored, petty, without any real character, without self esteem, and most likely to die alone & unhappy without anyone by your side who genuinely likes…let alone loves you!

    Time: 4/21/98 (10:39:25)

    I often wonder what our country is coming to. A friend of mine, upon learning that his future Mother-in-Law worked for the IRS, joked, “So if want to get somebody, all I have to do is give you their name, right?” In complete seriousness, she responded, “Sure, who do you want me go nail?” If that’s not an out of control agency, I don’t know what is.

    Time: 4/21/98 (8:45:33)

    All I can say is “ROSS WAS RIGHT!” I think that if the people of this country had to write a check out each month to their government (instead of having it automatically deducted and hidden in sales tax, property tax, gas tax…the list goes on) they would begin to realize that our government cost an awful lot while the people are represented very little. This money is going up in smoke, Wake up!

    Mr. Smit says he uses his .edu account because it is “free.” Free? Hardly, and this is precisely the point. While the non-freeloaders in the society are paying for email and Internet access, Mr. Smit has chosen to go on welfare, of sorts. Does he need it? No? He “works for a living.” He decides to sponge off the rest of us anyway. So much for work ethic. You see, it isn’t free. It costs money to have these computer systems, to have adequate bandwidth, for disk space, and administrative time to create the account. This is what I do for a profession, I charge organizations, like universities, a lot of money to properly design and implement email systems. In fact, one of my coworkers just came back from visiting OU (Norman, OK) where a single department is planning to spend over $300K for systems to manage desktops and monitor servers. Guess what, that is tax money! My money to be exact!
    So, Mr. Smit, you may not mind the tax burden because you are milking the system, right? If you and everybody like you stopped using “freebies” from the government, we would all get more back in taxes than it costs for a dedicated Internet connection. That email account isn’t free and neither will socialized medicine. They are simply gimmicks to entice those obsessed with the short-term to surrender more of their life away to the government. Nevermind the costs are higher and the quality is lower, you are creating a class of people dependent on government and swelling their numbers, and you have free email. Congratulations, you’ve traded your freedom for $9.95 a month!

    I have bever seen so much drivel in one place before. And a lot of it is misspelled, misaligned and misquoted.

    Time: 4/17/98 (16:28:12)

    I’m with Mr. Dominick on this one. There’s no real secret as to where the money that the federal government makes in taxes goes. The biggest piece of the pie is entitlements spending (mainly Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid), followed closely by defense, interest payments on the debt, and infrastructure (roads, parks, etc.). If people don’t want to pay so much in taxes, they must figure out which government programs they think the country could do without. Personally, I’m happy with most federal programs (the NTSB, CDC and Marine Corps being three of my favorites), and my tax burden is managable. There’s plenty of room to discuss cuts, though, for people who think we should be paying less.

    To Mr. Pena: private property and the respect thereof is part of the deal of democracy and Western Civilization. To suggest you can have one without the other is the road to a system that has neither. The lessons of history (China, the USSR, Cambodia) should be quite clear.

    To Mr. Richards: The government gets to force people to do things (obey the law, collect taxes, conscript its citizens, regulate trade, etc.) because it has a mandate to do so from its citizens. The Revolutionary war was about “Taxation without representation”, not “Taxation” per se. A government that cannot compel some citizens to do necessary things won’t last a week.

    To everybody: What’s with the harshing on .edu addresses? Some of us really do have productive jobs. I just use this account from my alma mater because it’s free. ^_^

    Time: 4/17/98 (8:36:22)

    WE HAVE BEEN TOLD BY THE GOVERNMENT…….

    WE WILL TAKE YOU MONEY (pay taxes) OR YOU WILL GO TO JAIL.
    or
    YOU WILL GIVE US YOUR MONEY OR WE WILL TAKE YOUR POSESSIONS.

    This is an OUTRAGE. How dare the government threatened us like that. Yes everyone, our government has imposed a THREAT on us. I don’t like to be threatened, and neither do most people. Ask most people “What will happen if you refuse to pay taxes?” Most will answer “You will go to jail.” This is a simple revealation. OUR GOVERNMENT HAS IMPOSED A THREAT UPON US!! This really makes me mad, and should make everyone else mad too. Isn’t this why we had the war of independence? The government takes your money whether you like it or not. Isn’t that what a theif does? There is only one thing still stronger than this system, and that is everyone collectively. Strength is in numbers, we must band together to stop this. I am sick and tired of being financially RAPED. I’m ready to put an end to this. How about you?

    While slick Willy is banging his underlings at the white house, his wife, the president of the United States is economically sodomizing us all, while the scum bag corperations get even more tax breaks! ‘Money’ has replaced ‘morals’ in this just and wonderous land of ours.

    Well, well Lots’s of rage in here, retty cool! A place to call my own…If Bill got sucked in the white house so be it..it does not affect that I paid 700.00 to the Gov’t I could have used it to pay property taxes on my car and truck, guess i won’t eat too much this month and as for the Left waiting for the right to collapse..facism on the right or communsim/socalism on the left I’ll still be broke as far as my .edu buddies, you guys are bieng brain washed one by one..and for my political correct/aware friends, I feel your pain.but what are we going to do…have a revolution..might have worked in Cuba..not here..well maybe on the local/state level but casualities will be high and we would lose unless France helps us like last time..doubt that would happen…I have an idea on cutting taxes..have the CIA get out of p*ss*ng off these little countries…A lot of countries hate us and we (the people) don’t even know it or really care to know..just as long as we have a Six pack and a romote control in our hands!

    Taxes!!! They are out of control. I saw a while back a study that was done that showed where between local, state, county, and federal taxes and fees, the AVERAGE American was paying 50-54 percent of thier income in taxes! The progressive income taxes uses inflation against all of us. In the 50s you could buy a 5 bedroom ranch house on multiple acres of land in New York state for around $25,000. (I saw the ad myself reprinted for a co-worker’s 25th anniversary on the job). Back then, even if the tax rate was the same as today, he would pay about 10% federal, and a couple % in state, and there were negligible, if any, local taxes or fees. No wonder it takes 2 incomes to make it in today’s world. Bring me the flat tax (10-12% is plenty if it’s not wasted) or even a consumption tax, at least then I’ll have some control….I just worry about the almost guarranteed recession….

    Okay, bring on the screams…I can handle it…

    By the way Joseph, take your head out of you A.. so you can see the real world…

    Isaac. ‘)

    Time: 4/16/98 (15:53:40)

    In response to your 04/15/98 DO… All I have to say is “Amen”.

    Thank you Raymond Dominick. It’s nice to hear from someone who actually read a history book and actually uses his brain to think. All the Heritage Foundation and Rutherford Institute types want is a free ride making unconscionable profits off the little guys. I recommend all go see Roger Moore’s ” The Big One”. These right wing scumbags scream for deregulation but either forget or don’t care why regulations were instituted in the first place. Now the banks are mergeing. Like Al Capone they know all too well that cooperation is much more lucrative than competition. This is monopoly capitalism at its worst. The last time we had banks doing this was just before the Great Depression. It was the major contributing factor to the depression. These A-holes either are too stupid and ignorent or arrogent, or simply don’t give a crap who they screw. If I were these right wingers I would go see Roger Moore’s movie and listen to the sentiment out there. I have been watching politics for a long time and from
    what I can see the tide is about to change. In November the Democrats will win big and in 2000 there will be a sharp swing to the left since the right has run out of issues that anybody gives a crap about. Meanwhile the left will sit patiently and watch the Republicans go over the clif like Lemmings. We ,in the meantime, will just quietly sharpen our guillotines and wait for our fateful day. You guys haven’t posted any of my recent postings but hope springs eternal. As for all you neo-fascists out there libertarian or not (by the way I tend to agree with libertarians on social issues and as a left wing anarchist believe in democratic control of the state, I also believe in the old anarchist sayiny, ” All property is theft.”) in the words of Ernest Hemingway, ” For whom the bells toll, they toll for thee !”

    Regarding Raymond’s comments below, That “simpleminded idea” used to be called freedom.

    As far as “all the things we all want” you hardly want the same things we want; national health insurance being a good example.

    And you happen to be totally wrong about defense costs in the colonial period. The fact is that Great Britain spent very little on defense of the colonies.

    Why is is that the most uninformed comments always come from edu domains? Is it because students aren’t actually paying these taxes?

    We also happen to notice that you come from a school that is state subsidized; no wonder you don’t mind taxes.

    I was brought-up to believe that income taxes were a temporary thing in the 1940’s during one of the wars, but this seems to be the longest tmeporary thang I’ve seen in my 21 years of life. Can anyone tell me which is better: a temporary pregnacy (nine(9) months) or this tempory tax thang? I’ve only benn working a short while but after doing my taxes I had to write the bigest check of my life….

    Johnson’s comments quoted at the end of The Outrage interview accurately reflect most Americans’ simpleminded idea of a utopia; a place where no taxes are collected but where the things we all want done (national defense, interstate highways, public education, medical insurance, national parks, environmental protection, etc. etc.) all somehow get done anyhow. That was possible in the pre-revolutionary period because Great britain subsidized the defense costs of the colonists almost by 100 percent. The tax burden in England was 25 times higher than it was in the colonies, and the UK was accumulating an enormous national debt. So George III and his advisors tried to raise a little more money out of the colonists with the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act and a few other import duties, and the colonists revolted. After their revolt succeeded, every colony had to raise taxes way over the pre-revolutionary level, on average by a factor of about twenty! You don’t get something for nothing, especially from government. My complaint about government is not the level of taxation, which is much lower in the USA than in most other countries. Instead, I’m infuriated by the unresponsiveness of the system on matters like campaign finance reform or national health insurance (heaven forbid, we might have to pay more taxes so that our candidates for public office would be beholden to the people instead of to their private sponsors.)

    I have to admit, I am burned out on being “politically aware”. No good news for the past few years and being “OUTRAGED” for so long, with no relief, has forced me to put my head in the sand and just play with my kids and focus on other things. BUT, at 11:15 PM last night, I wrote my check out to the IRS…….and now the sand has become concrete!

    How about the most insidious of rising taxes – the personal exemptions that haven’t kept track with inflation. Us boomers would get 10K per child to be even with what our parents got for us. Jefferson (?) said that the tree of liberty sometimes needs to be nourished by the blood of patriots. Well, if it means getting this monster off my back, I’d give a few pints. Anyone else?

    TAXES!, just say NO!

    excellent articile we taxed when we pee in public bathrooms to

    You people ought to be ashamed of yourselves! Here you have the opportunity to support the president you elected and you’re whining about taxex!

    Well, don’t you remember? These aren’t taxes, they are CONTRIBUTIONS! Zipper himself said so! And you are not taxpayers, you are CUSTOMERS! Zipper himself said so.

    I’ll bet the same people who are complaining about taxes (oops! Sorry) contributions are the ones who tell the pollsters that they have no problem with Zipper defrauding banks, stealing FBI files, threatening witnesses, suborning perjury and perjuring his own testimony, not to mention groping female staffers and sodomizing young interns (I know, I know, but “sodomy” includes what she did to him), and then, when he tires of them or they get found out by Hillary’s guards, he shooes them off to a fat job at the Pentagaon or the State Department or Revlon or wherever, to keep them quiet.

    If I’m right, then keep quiet about the taxes; they are the least of your problems!!

    Taxes! Now the U.S. government is contemplating taxing Internet access and other forms of Internet activity. Could you imagine paying a tax on every email you send or web site you access? About the only good that may come of it would be a total hamstring of the commercial spammers.

    Oops, I meant to type “against IRS agents,” not “against IRS against.”

    According to the Heritage Foundation’s web page, there have been 3,200 assaults on and threats against IRS against in five years.

    When I read that, all I could think was, “Is that all?”

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