Right, everyone hates taxes. That’s a given. But want to know why people get really mad? It’s not because they have to pay the Government so it can do it’s work. It’s not because people are greedy. No, it’s because they can be as careful as possible in reporting their income, and still get a bill telling them that they got it wrong.
Case in point. I got a letter today saying I own $300+ dollars in taxes to Oregon. Apparently I reported my scholarship income wrong.
I remember that part of the process, I was unsure if I was answering TaxACT’s questions right, but I answered to the best of my ability. I’d have just used the IRS forms, but they’re even less understandable than TaxACT.
Does it actually make sense to tax scholarships? Especially scholarships coming from the Government? That’s the only kind I was ever able to get. I can understand taxing them if they are from other organizations. But when they are from the Government, they’re tax dollars from other people. If they need to be taxed, just keep some of them back, and not waste the time and money necessary to make me pay it back…
Also, why is our tax system so complex that I, with my very simple income, can’t understand how to report it correctly? I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone with their own business, or running a non-profit, or any other situation more complicated than mine.
Heck, there’s an entire industry based on helping people pay their taxes. If that isn’t a sign that things are broken, I don’t know what is.
So here’s what I’d like to see. A tax system that is so easy to understand and use, that anyone can pay their taxes in five minutes or less of work. Flat tax, fair tax, national sales tax, whatever. We just need something better than this.