It’s high blood pressure season, otherwise known as nine days until the state and federal tax-filing deadline.
And of course, other than gathering all the required documentation to the same general area — my house — I haven’t started filling out the forms. It’s not that I hate paying taxes (it’s not that I love paying them, either), but I still dread filling out that form.
And despite all the complaining I hear about the complexity of the tax code, that’s not what freaks me out. I have a straightforward income stream and it’s not a big deal to plug a few numbers into online software and let it do the heavy lifting.
Still. Every year, as I’m about to hit the submit (perfect word for filing taxes) button, I’m sure IRS agents are hovering above in a helicopter and about to drop down into my yard.
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It never happens. I’ve had a few minor run-ins with the IRS but I’ve never been audited. They mostly don’t appreciate my “new” math.
I have a pretty solid tax plan. I put in all our income and then dump our savings into my wife’s IRA until the amount owed hits zero or I run out of savings.
I said earlier I didn’t hate paying taxes. Taxes, when spent properly, can do a lot of good. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
And if you ever wondered where your money is going, the National Priorities Project can help you out. At NationalPriorities.org, you can plug in your income and the tax year that income was earned and it will produce a receipt for your taxes.
The largest portion of mine, $1,221.32, went to the military in the 2014 earnings year. Of that, $30.93 was spent on nuclear weapons. And that doesn’t include the cost of wars. Another $1,198.94 went for health, most of it to Medicaid. The children’s insurance program cost me $16.54. Another $29.41 sent to NASA — money well spent. The National Parks Service cost $5.07.
The best part, though, is the site allows you to play “what if” by reallocating your money. For instance, the predator and reaper drones cost the taxpayers $1.56 billion a year, or the same as 19,258 elementary school teachers.
Don’t like the federal budget? Have at it.
Whose idea was income tax?
Don’t like income taxes? Blame our wars.
1862 — President Abraham Lincoln signs the first income tax into law to help pay for the Civil War. The rates: 3 percent on incomes of $600 to $10,000 and 5 percent on incomes of more than $10,000
1867 — The war is over and the public is unhappy about the tax. Congress cuts the tax rate and until 1913, 90 percent of all federal revenue was generated by taxes on liquor, beer, wine and tobacco.
1913 — With Europe drifting toward World War I, Wyoming pushed over the top the 16th Amendment, which would allow Congress to tax income without sharing it with the states or basing it on the Census.
1918 — The Revenue Act, including income taxes of up to 77 percent, is passed.
1942 — Another war is looming and another Revenue Act, this one increasing taxes and the number of Americans who must pay them, passes.
1943 — The law requiring payroll deductions passes.
1944 — The standard deduction arrives.