Thursday, April 15, 2010

Income Tax Day

Today is Tax Day … April 15th … I remember too many late night runs to the post office so that I could make the midnight deadline. One year I had to drive down to the Tampa Airport because it was the only post office still open just minutes before midnight. Go figure and thank goodness those crazy days are over. Over the years I’ve collect some stories and quotes concerning taxes. Most of the quotes are by unknown authors.

A man on vacation was strolling along outside his hotel in Acapulco, enjoying the sunny Mexican weather. Suddenly, he was attracted by the screams of a woman kneeling in front of a child. The man knew enough Spanish to determine that the child had swallowed a coin. Seizing the child by the heels, the man held him up, gave him a few shakes, and an American quarter dropped to the sidewalk. "Oh, thank you sir!" cried the woman. "You seemed to know just how to get it out of him. Are you a doctor?" "No, ma'am," replied the man. "I'm with the United States Internal Revenue Service."

From David Harbaugh: IRS auditor to taxpayer, as nurse prepares a syringe: "She is going to numb the area around your wallet."

In a newly created nation in Africa, an elderly native was told that he was going to be taxed to support the government. "Why?" he asked. "To protect you from enemies, to feed you when you are hungry, to care for you when you are sick, and to educate your children," he was told. "I see," said the old man. "It's like I have this dog, and the dog is hungry. He comes begging to me for food. So I take my knife, cut off a piece of the poor dog's tail and give it to him to eat. That, I believe is what this taxation is."

From Jim Fiebig: All the taxes paid over a lifetime by the average American are spent by the government in less than a second.

As reported by Clyde Haberman and Albin Krebs in The New York Times: John L. Swigert, Jr., the Apollo 13 astronaut who went to the moon in 1970, recalls how his job almost interfered with filing his federal income-tax forms: "On the second day of Apollo 13, April 12, I asked Mission Control to begin work to get me an extension of the filing date for my income tax. Since I had been a last-minute substitution on the Apollo 13 flight, things had moved so fast that I didn't have a chance to file my return." The IRS didn't have to make a special ruling to grant Swigert a two-month extension because of his I'm-on-my-way-to-the-moon excuse, though. There was already a regulation that provided an automatic extension for anyone out of the country.

When you made out your income tax return this year, we trust you remembered that it's better to give than to deceive.

As shared by Shlomo Maital in the March, 1982 issue of Psychology Today: An IRS funded survey showed: 1/5 of filers admit to understating income, 1/10 to overstating deductions, 1/6 claim dependents illegally, 50% said they thought everyone would cheat if they felt they could get away with it. The more tax evaders a person knows, the more likely he is to cheat.

Personally, I believe that there ought to be a better way then our present system of the IRS. Reading about the “Flat Tax” idea and the “Value Added Tax” idea has been interesting and somewhat confusing. As one who has traveled overseas and have experienced the “Value Added” up close and personal I think that it is a good idea worth a second look for our country especially when you consider that many Americans do not pay anything via the Income Tax system. In one community we had a notorious crime figure. His gated house with the two helicopters and large speedboats was always on the “community tour” when guests would visit. He was known to state that he didn’t pay any taxes on much of his income. A VAT would have brought income into our nations treasury because he sure bought his fair share of “stuff”. It is just a thought … besides with a VAT there wouldn’t be any April 15th deadline with all the headaches produced by the confusing forms to be filled out!

Have a happy Tax Day!

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