If you haven't yet filed your annual income tax forms, stop reading. You're an idiot. Last Monday morning, 26 million Americans woke up in their beds, and, just like you, hadn't filed either. And two days later, I'm sure some of them are still lying there. As I get older, I just can't help but be scared by one of the qualities that makes the United States one of the most developed countries in the world: tax season. Like the opening of the monster truck season or a WWF match, it seems to bring out America's "best." I've determined that there are four major types of American taxpayers, starting with some basic level of intelligence and then dropping off quickly. First, there are those of us who, when we received our W-2s at the end of January, decided to file then. I signed my name, sent in my 1040, and by February 16, had my refund electronically deposited into my bank account. No hassle. No worries. And no crowded wait at the post office to make the midnight deadline. Then there's those certain individuals who add and multiply all their numbers and find that they have a refund check coming their way. Surprise! Wrong. What bugs me most about these people is that they don't understand this country's tax system. A poll on CNN's Web site -- asking users what their expectations were for this tax season -- listed four choices. Thirty-four percent rightly indicated that they will pay some amount of tax. Another 57 percent commented that they will receive a refund -- in essence, free money from the government. Wrong again. All of these people have in fact been paying taxes all year. The former simply had too little withheld from each of their precious paychecks, while the latter had too much taken out by Uncle Sam. Some refundees even go as far every year as to have so much withheld by the government just to guarantee that, come April, they'll get their own money back -- without interest. At least this group, however, has slightly more brainpower than the next: those who have to pay additional taxes. These dutiful citizens believe that an injustice has been cast down upon them. Big, bad government is out to get them all. Ever wonder who are the ones with the picket signs calling for the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service? It's this group of bright men and women. No, I don't think that you've paid enough already. Yes, someone must have the job of collecting other people's money to fund our nation's government and services. And yes, the government actually needs your 200 additional dollars. Believe me. I used to work at the IRS. But then, at the bottom of the totem pole, there's that segment of our fellow Americans who want to do things their own way. April 16, 2001 -- this year's tax deadline, adjusted for a Sunday -- didn't mean anything to many of them. Why file income taxes and tell the government that you've been working all year long? It's not like they can figure it out. Wrong again. It doesn't take more than common sense to know that the government keeps records about these types of things. Many more have seen the recent news about the desensitization of the IRS, and want to cash in. I'm sorry, but I'm sure that they'll catch your $36,000 deduction for a lump-sum donation to an educational charity. Try again next year. And then there exists those who will file for an extension and prolong the above torture. Masochists. With tax day now behind us, you'd think the government would move on and revisit this sore subject in a year's time. But not our President Bush. Riding on the momentum of his $900,000 earnings in 2000, Bush has decided that the government should give him some of his money back. He's introduced his new budget, that includes substantial tax cuts that he believes are in order. But how will Americans view this political move? Our on-time taxpaying friends will evaluate the plan in a careful manner and formulate an educated opinion. Our refund-searchers will call for increased social spending and giant refunds at the same time. Sorry, that's impossible. The taxpayers will see it as too little, too late. They don't understand why the government has to take any of their cash. And finally there's the cheaters and the scam artists. They think that they'll be getting money too, even though they never paid a dime. Idiots.Comments powered by Disqus
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