Op-Ed: April 15th the real April Fool’s Day



“People try to live within their income so they can afford to pay taxes to a government that can’t live within its income.” – Robert Half

Will Rogers told us, “It’s a good thing we do not get as much government as we pay for.” If you ask any taxpayer, they will agree. For a country founded in defiance of high taxes, we are now a nation of high taxes. As people asked more from government, politicians gladly obliged since it gave them an excuse to expand government. This did not happen overnight and it will not go away in a dozen fortnights. We are paying for more government than we want or need because we asked for it.

The chapters of history books are filled with pages of nations that have risen and fallen because of taxation. Revolts, uprisings, and wars have been fought over taxation. It’s human nature to rebuff abusive taxes. But when taxes rise, government and voters pay more for less, they lose faith in government and replace the leaders who do a repeat performance and start the cycle over again.

The Constitution did not specifically approve a federal income tax, since our founders felt that the colonies might balk at the idea and it would prolong ratification. Although the colonies had simple user taxes to finance local government, the idea of a central government with power to levy taxes at will over individual states was reminiscent of the abusive taxation in the colonies under British rule.

One of the most contentious issues facing our nation is the federal income tax. It took 150 years for politicians to conceptualize our draconian tax code. Americans have themselves to blame for their tax burden since they expect too much from government. They have short memories on April 15.

Every April 15, people repeat the same excuses to justify not paying federal taxes. Their favorite is the 5th Amendment that states no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process.” Others claim filing an income tax is voluntary, because form 1040Z says it is. Some even repeat Section 10 Article I of the Constitution, which grants the federal government the power to create and regulate money but it limits America’s legal currency to gold and silver coinage only. It is no wonder that “The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf.” (Will Rogers)

Each year, the IRS tax code becomes so serpentine it looks more like a bowl of alphabet soup than a federal conveyance. The greatest fear is fear of the unknown. There are more words in the tax code than in the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and the Bible. The pages within the tax code increased from 26,300 in 1984 to 70,000 in 2018. In 2016, H&R Block made $3 billion in revenue. Intuit made $4 billion and Consumer Tax Software made $2 billion.

“An income tax form is like a laundry list. Either way you lose your shirt.” (Fred Allen)

There were 402 tax forms in 1990, and by 2002 that number jumped to over 526. Today they have over 600, but who is counting? The easiest form most people use is the 1040Z. It is so easy the IRS prints 33 pages of instructions on how to fill out this “simple” form. They print over 8 billion pages in forms, instructions and new rules every year. Where are all the “tree-huggers”? Although the IRS claims they are switching mostly to recycled paper, they have been sacrificing over 300,000 trees yearly. For years. H&R Block and Intuit have lobbied against simpler tax filing. Last year, they spent $5 billion in “tax deductible lobbying fees”! Others spent over $4 billion defending the tax code they love for us to hate!

“How much money did you make last year? Mail it in.” (Stanton Delaplane)

Over 20% of paper tax returns have errors, but only 1% of e-file returns have them. Now, the IRS is encouraging us to file returns via the internet. But this is a paradox. This costs big bucks to do if we use tax preparation software. And there are few ways you can do this on your own. If your adjusted gross income is less than $66,000 and you have no deductions, you might be eligible to file for free through the IRS’s Free File Alliance. But there is a catch. This alliance is made up of income tax for profit software companies. And one can easily get hoodwinked into paying for things that sound too good to be true. And all on-line tax prep conglomerates have “got ya’s” hidden between the lines.

Henry Ford once said, “Government gets less return for their dollars than any American business.” Since Joe Biden increased IRS funding by 33%, they now employ over 90,000 employees. That’s more than the CIA and the FBI combined. The border wall Trump wanted to build cost $21 billion. Yet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shamed him for this expense! If the IRS stopped making child credit payments to illegal migrants for only one year, it would pay for the entire wall!

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

What the IRS doesn’t tell us really hurts. If you don’t itemize and claim the standard deduction, the average deduction is around $8,000. But those that itemize average $26,084. According to figures from the Tax Federation, Americans spend $200 billion and 5.4 billion hours on their federal taxes yearly. That’s more than it costs to produce every car and truck made in the U.S. Federal taxes eat up over 35% of the average U.S. family’s income. Their tax bill eclipses what they spend on food, clothing and shelter. And that does not include what they get from government entitlements.

We are not alone in our distain for taxes. In 60 AD, the queen of Boadicea executed all their tax collectors. In 1789, French taxmen were sent to the guillotine. In the Middle Ages, tax agents were tortured and killed. In 1629, English King Charles I lost his head for abusive taxation. In 1800, the English parliament declared their income tax was illegal and ordered all records burned. The most notable tax revolt in history took place in 1013 when Leofric, Earl of Mercia, promised to reduce taxes if Lady Godiva agreed to ride naked through the streets. He raised taxes anyway. That’s almost as audacious as the bill of goods Congress sold us in1913 when they created the IRS.

Now that the IRS is flush with money it has the means and the time to prosecute taxpayers who try to squeeze through its fingers like sand through a camel’s toes. The IRS has developed methods to expose even the most complex tax avoidance schemes taxpayers engage in. The IRS is going after all taxpayers vigorously regardless of their income. And they’re treating innocent mistakes the same as they are deliberate dishonesty, subjecting taxpayers to stiff penalties and interest.

When Biden says he is taxing the rich to pay for his progressive spending spree, ask yourself, “do you consider yourself rich?” If not, “you are paying for more government than you want or need.”

“Mark my words! All increases in government spending will be paid for by the rich.” – Joe Biden

If big government needs more money to pay its bills, the government and the IRS think they have an unlimited source of income, the U.S. taxpayer. Whether they take money from the middle class or the rich it makes no difference.

“We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” – Winston Churchill

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