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Tax time

Been doing my taxes. I hate it. Going on three hours now. Then it occurred to me. Since the .gov has such broad authority despite my right to abortion err privacy to poke around willy nilly in my financial dealings, my various financial institutions are obligated by law to report when I do something out of the ordinary, and all my wage info is sent automatically to the .gov via payroll providers, why don’t they just go ahead and do my taxes for me?

Seriously. Hell, if my privacy can be violated like that, why not get some benefit from it?

10 Responses to “Tax time”

  1. tgirsch Says:

    Be careful what you wish for…

  2. tgirsch Says:

    And if you were really being serious, you’re overlooking things like charitable donation deductions and the like, which the .gov would have no way to know about unless you told them.

  3. SayUncle Says:

    I worked for a long time for a non profit. We reported where our income came from.

  4. Manish Says:

    for most people, they probably could just have the government do their taxes. It only starts to get hairy if you have some form of company or real estate investment or the like. But if you just own your own home or rent and get a regular W2 income, I would think that the government has all the info it needs.

  5. tgirsch Says:


    Perhaps true of cash donations, but what of goods (like Goodwill)? I somehow doubt they report the fair value of every item donated as well as from whom they came. Hell, they can’t even be bothered to take your donation 10 minutes early.

  6. _Jon Says:

    I’ve done *tons* of research on taxes and such.
    The best ideas I’ve found are
    a) Flat Tax with Rebate Coupons at the Post Office.
    b) Tax returns due by primary filer’s birthday.

    Item a) would simplify the rules and still allow certain items to qualify for a refund. For example, if you have dependants, get a rebate coupon from the Post Office, send in documentation, then the IRS would send you a check for it. Businesses do it, why not the IRS? Don’t want a rebate – don’t file.

    Item b) would eliminate the need for the world’s largest crush of paperwork & processing. Any rebates not claimed by that deadline would be forefit. Simple.

    Combined, these two would decrease the staff and costs at the IRS by over 75%.

  7. Justin Buist Says:

    Because they’d lose a really handy tool for throwing people in jail.

  8. Lyle Says:

    Here’s my fantasy flat tax. It’s really a flat tax, instead of a “If you have more, we want more” income redistribution racket;
    $1000.00 dollars per year, for every man, woman and child – period. No farting around. What? You’re rich? Cool – Don’t care. You’re poor? Figure it out – this is the U.S.A.. Far be it from us to get in your way of earning money. Want to cut taxes? Lets talk about it. Want to raise taxes? Move to Cuba. Leave us alone.

    As it is, I will most likely pay more for accountant’s fees and bookkeeping expenses, just to figure all this nightmarish crap, and to file all the w2s, 1099s, 1199, corporate returns, partnership returns, personal returns, etc, etc, (it never ends) than I will pay in actual tax. And there we have a crux – what would happen to the tax preparers industry if we had a true flat tax? Why, they’d be available to do productive things, of course.

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  10. tgirsch Says:


    Well, setting aside the complete impracticality of your “plan” and the inherent inequity of it (what you’re calling for is a regressive tax), you’d have to first understand that your flat tax plan would reduce the amount collected from individual income taxes by nearly 75% — From $967bn down to $290bn. So you’d have to get that money from elsewhere, or reduce the federal budget by $677bn or 27%. To put that into perspective, you could completely eliminate all defense and homeland security spending, and that still only gets you 2/3 of the way to where you’d need to be. And these numbers assume that everyone who’s supposed to pay actually does pay.

    The other problem with your flat tax proposal (and, really, any flat tax proposal) is that the public at large hates the idea. They like it well enough at first blush, but once they figure out that their mortgage and their children and their tithes are no longer tax deductible, they hate the idea. What John Q. Public wants is for the government to simplify the tax code without touching my deductions.

    In other words, it’s a wholly idiotic idea that nobody likes. 🙂

    That said, here are some tax reform ideas I could get behind:

    – Limit child deductions to one per adult. Nobody’s preventing you from having more than two children, we’re just stopping the deductions at two.
    – Reinstate the 39% bracket, and put it somewhere around $300K AGI per year.
    – Push the remaining brackets to the left. Yes, these last two are tax increases. Deal with it. You want to freeload, go live in the libertarian paradise that is modern Russia.
    – A lock box for social security got laughed at, but it’s an idea that’s long overdue. Both parties have been able to use the trust fund to mask their runaway spending, and it has to stop.
    – The aforementioned reforms to defense spending and medicare.
    – Increased use taxes on things like fuel. As it is, the government spends billions hiding the true cost from the market and from the consumers. It’s unusual for me, but in this case, I say pass the costs directly back to the consumers and “let the market decide.”

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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