The taxman stayeth

There’s something fundamentally wrong with a tax code that routinely costs ordinary people many hours and dollars every single year, and not just for taxes either.


  1. fillyjonk »

    1 April 2014 · 7:09 am

    Amen, brother. This year I finally “caved” (after several decades of stubbornness) and hired a preparer. In the past, I’d say “I have a Ph.D., dammit, I should be able to figure this out!” but have since decided that if earning a Ph.D. was like filling out a Schedule D, I’d probably have stopped after a Bachelor’s.

  2. Dan Tobias »

    1 April 2014 · 7:34 am

    Until a few years ago I still did taxes the old-fashioned way with paper and pen, despite being a computer geek. Then I finally broke down and started using tax software; quicker and easier that way, but it still annoys me to have to pay a tax program maker (and it makes the tax program makers into a potential lobby to keep the tax code complicated and keep the forms ever-changing so you have to buy a new program every year). This year I used the online version of TurboTax (finally joining that lemming-like rush to do stuff In The Cloud), and got bait-and-switched a couple of times as some aspect or other of my tax situation as it emerged from the answers to their online questions pushed me into a mode where I had to “upgrade” to the “Super Duper Deluxe Pro” version for $79 or the “Enhanced Super Duper Hyper Deluxe Pro” version for $99 instead of the normal version for $24.99, in order to continue.

  3. McGehee »

    1 April 2014 · 9:29 am

    The tax code became complicated because people wanted to be able to claim special breaks and politicians wanted to encourage certain financial decisions. Unfortunately more and more of those who itemize spend more on antacid (or other soothing compounds, themselves subject to huge taxation) than they save on their income taxes.

  4. Roger Green »

    1 April 2014 · 6:46 pm

    McGehee is right, though it surely wasn’t poor people who lined Congressperson’s pockets for special tax breaks. I used to file a 1040EZ when I was single, but for the last decade we have a tax preparer; I think of it as maintaining domestic tranquility.

  5. CGHill »

    1 April 2014 · 7:46 pm

    And if they have enough money to get the attention of a member of Congress, they’re by definition not poor.

    There are several ostensible advocates for the poor who are distinctly bucks-up, but there are several ostensible advocates for damned near anything who are distinctly bucks-up.

  6. McGehee »

    2 April 2014 · 8:17 am

    All it takes is a mailing list and an efficient means of lying to those who are on it, and the little donations add up quickly. Imagine if ten thousand people could be cajoled into hitting my Paypal tipjar four times a year at an average of $25 each time.

    That’s Ostensible Advocate business model writ small, but the principle is identical.

  7. ms7168 »

    2 April 2014 · 8:30 am

    The main reason for itemizing is so that you get a break on the Oklahoma State return because the State will allow you to carry the lower taxable amount over. The IRS has raised the standard deduction enough now that it is hard to beat it itemizing. I always thought the Federal was easy and it was the State that was difficult and confusing.

    I will tell you what the biggest pain in the rear is and that is amending a return. Good old 1040X. There is also a 511X for the State. I had to do that one year. Once you have e-filed it if you discover a mistake you have to amend the return. You cannot re-e-file. The amendment has to be manually done and snail mailed.

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