Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


"Taxation Ventage"

Justin Mason has a great rant, titled “taxation ventage.”

In the US, every worker is required to prepare and file their own taxes, in detail. Nowhere outside of India can do bureaucracy quite like the US, as far as I can tell — even the brits have embraced simplicity to a greater degree — so this is no trivial undertaking; however, they do have a few outs, if you’re eligible.

All I can say is, no wonder quite a few US citizens seem to think that government involvement is something to be minimized if at all possible. There are alternatives though — I’d happily take an Ireland-style ‘nanny state’ which will compute my tax liabilities for me if I so choose.

(Just as an aside, one of the main benefits of the 1986 tax reform was to eliminate quite a bit of this drek that accretes as various groups lobby for this or that bit of preference in the tax code.)

One comment on ""Taxation Ventage""

  • Justin Mason says:

    Cheers Adam!
    One important thing that’s missed from the quote above, however, is what I feel is the important aspect.
    In reality, there’s very little difference between the ‘nanny state’ dictating your tax burden to you, or you collating your tax info for them. In the end, *it really doesn’t matter* in terms of the citizen’s freedom — because the relevant government taxation authority can still force you to pay what they feel is appropriate. In that case, under either system, your recourse is the same — go talk to a tax attorney and negotiate with the taxman, or if the worst comes to the worst, take them to court.
    Essentially I think it’s a ‘fake freedom’; just window-dressing, one which conveniently reduces government workload, while in fact increasing the end-user’s workload. (and creating indirect private-sector taxation through H&R Block et al, but that’s another thing entirely. 😉

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