Taxation without representation

I just got my federal tax refund ... or rebate, if you will ... back. The money I “gave” to the government is now safely back in my hands, well, some of it ... more like next to none of it. Actually the paper the check was written on might be more valuable.

Taxation has gotten so complicated over the years. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of terms associated with it forming an impenetrable vocabulary. Things have come a long way from taxing tea bags. I think the British got it wrong. What they should have done was make the taxation system so complicated that no one without a degree in finance could properly understand it. That way people would have been too baffled to protest. Sort of like it is now.

But I digress. My taxes, which I have so dutifully paid, have in part been returned to me and like some sort of inverted investment I have paid the government to hold onto it for me.

While complaining about taxes isn’t quite a novel idea, this is my first real experience with them, as I have spent the vast majority of my wage earning years behind school desks, and any summer job I have held hardly gleaned enough revenue to warrant the omnipresent and scrupulous examination of the Internal Revenue Service.



In hindsight, I should have filed a “Fifth Amendment Return,” accurately reporting my annual income and tax liability but withholding the source of my earnings on the grounds that it would incriminate me. Not that I am engaging in any sort of illicit activity, just that it seems like it would be easier to fill out the forms. I was rather surprised to learn that things like drug dealing are actually taxable, which is really quite laughable. It would seem that the IRS is much more concerned with citizens accurately filing their taxes than whether or not their incomes were amassed peddling ill-gotten goods. The American Dream ... Uncle Sam doesn’t care where you get your money from just so long as he gets his cut. That’s a little cynical, I know, and I’ll admit I don’t really believe it.

I am glad, however, that I don’t have children. Dodged the bullet on that one, no “Kiddie Tax” for me. That’s the name of it, really ... Kiddie Tax. It was enacted in the late 80s and – from my understanding – if there are any sort of investments made on the behalf of a child, a college savings account, maybe (I am not really sure, no finical degree for me), exceeding $1,900, then it may be taxed at the parent’s tax rate. If the total is greater than $9,500, a separate tax return has to be filled for the little tyke. Geez, we can’t even have kids these days without paying someone a dividend.

The government truly is a share holder in American households, which from a different point of view can be comforting, as it’s important to protect an investment. There is something strange, however, about taxing something which preludes the very development of civilization; governing something older than governing. And just who, exactly, is representing the interests of the American children, who is speaking for them? Sure, taxes extracted on their behalf are used for public things like roads and parks, but where are the community clowns and balloon artists? And no, ‘30 Seconds’ devotees, politicians in Washington don’t count. I hate to say it but they may really have cause for crying “taxation without representation.”

My first bout of taxation has left me somewhat weary of the institution, but I guess that is the price of living in this great nation. Really, I am just grateful everything went smoothly. My refund check was taking a long time to get to me, and I was beginning to worry the IRS had found some sort of discrepancy and I was about to go the way of Al Capone.

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