Monday, March 05, 2007

Death and ...

Once again, I have taken part in the yearly tax ritual. You know, the one where you surround yourself with a bunch of documents and then answer a computer program’s questions that range from the easy (your name) to the indecipherable (what amortization method would you like to use for Alan’s Computer?) to the just-asking-for-a-fib (do you have written documentation to prove the expenses?).

Last year, after I completed my taxes, I wrote about the inherent problems with the self-employment tax. This year, I thought I’d share some general thoughts about our ever-enthralling tax code.

• Want to talk tax-cuts-for-the-rich? Being able to deduct all the interest and property taxes paid on your primary residence is a serious tax break for those owning expensive homes. Not that a bunch of rich congressmen are ever going to change that rule…

• Why is it you get a deduction for dependent childcare costs but no tax break if either the mother or the father stays home to care for a child? I think a stay-at-home parent tax deduction would be a socially and economically valuable addition to the code

• Maybe I read this wrong, but it seems you can only deduct gambling losses if you also report gambling winnings. Winnings? You can win at gambling? Maybe I should be trying harder next time I’m in Vegas.

• Can you imagine going in to buy a car and the dealer throwing you a bunch of paperwork and saying “here, figure out how much your car will cost …and if you underestimate we will fine you.” That’s insane. And yet, that’s what the government does to us each year.

• If it weren’t for computer tax programs, some accountant would be getting paid to do my taxes. No way I could figure out my deductions and liabilities using the government forms. No way.

• For the first time in years, I didn’t have to figure out state income taxes. I love being back in Texas.

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1 Comments:

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