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Question on threads about taxes
Old 04-09-2010, 08:53 AM   #1
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Question on threads about taxes

Is it me or are there more posts on taxes along with an angrier tone? I don’t remember this from last year – although the S&P at 800 had everyone’s attention then. Or is this a normal, seasonal thing?
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:22 AM   #2
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Well, it *is* almost April 15...

I could be wrong and I'm not inviting political discussion here, but I think the growing anger isn't so much the level of taxation as the feeling that our taxes are being used to subsidize the recklessness and bad decisions of other entities, be they consumers or corporations. They get greedy and screw up, and we pay to make them whole again. Meanwhile, entities which were responsible and didn't point the loaded gun at their own heads get nothing but the increasing tax bill. Most folks are generous with respect to people who genuinely try hard, play by the rules and are temporarily down on their luck, but not so much with entities which were ruined by their own greed and bad decision-making.

And the more we see our taxes going to these things, the more we resent paying taxes. (That's the "royal" we and obviously doesn't apply to everyone.) Add to that the fact that almost everyone knows we have no real choice but to raise taxes to pay down all this debt, and the resentment increases even more.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:55 AM   #3
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Don't think there is any more - or less - anger. Bitchin about taxes is part of the human experience. Remember, "What's good for the country is good for General Motors. And vice versa". That's Eisenhower's Treasury secretary from the '50s. Is it any different today? Substitute banks for GM.... I'm with Little Abner - it's our patriotic pleasure to support our nation, and if we're paying more it must mean we're better off. Don't want to be falling behind those E-europeans in the tax race.

Sorry, a little giddy from writing numbers that high.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:04 AM   #4
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In early April our discussion usually involves some aspect of taxes. We have already hashed out what our favorite software packages may be, in previous years.

This year some see further taxation as inevitable, and paying taxes brings to mind our losses in the market crash of 2008-2009 that have caused retirement delays for many of us and put "a crimp in our style" for many others. Having just been through a crash like this compounds the displeasure that many of us normally experience in sending off much of our gains in taxes.

And thanks in advance for not turning this thread in a political direction. There is no need for that.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:21 AM   #5
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My completely unfounded feeling is that there is much more anger this year about paying taxes and where tax dollars are going because of perceptions about the economy and worry about the future, both personal and societal. I have noticed more anger and arguing in other threads too.

My favorite software package is free TurboTax on Vanguard.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:40 AM   #6
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Also, taxes get more complex every year, so it makes sense that the grumbling increases every year.

I personally think it an absolute crime that the average employed person (or retired person with average investments) even needs to consider buying a software package, or consider which one is 'best', or consider paying someone to do their taxes.

I could compromise and say that an open-source format spreadsheet should be available for downloads from the Feds and each State, and taxes should be simple enough that a series of entries results in an indisputably correct tax return. The ss would do the adding, subtracting, multiply, divide, and a few simple 'if' conditions, and provide a conveniently neat way to print it and e-file.

There should be no need for 'programs', really.

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Old 04-09-2010, 11:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Also, taxes get more complex every year, so it makes sense that the grumbling increases every year.

I personally think it an absolute crime that the average employed person (or retired person with average investments) even needs to consider buying a software package, or consider which one is 'best', or consider paying someone to do their taxes.

I could compromise and say that an open-source format spreadsheet should be available for downloads from the Feds and each State, and taxes should be simple enough that a series of entries results in an indisputably correct tax return. The ss would do the adding, subtracting, multiply, divide, and a few simple 'if' conditions, and provide a conveniently neat way to print it and e-file.

There should be no need for 'programs', really.

-ERD50

Or we can go to the British system where if you make below a certain amount they figure your taxes for you... and tells the company how much to withhold from your check.. easy....

Now, I am not sure if this is true, but I was told this by a good number of people who made below that magic number... me, I was to high...
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:07 AM   #8
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I also believe, as already alluded to, that last year many people's attention was drawn to the 'Oh my god the stock market is crashing!!' and the economy was looking into the abyss.
This year the market is recovering nicely, and while there are still doom-sayers out there, the economy seems to be clawing (slowly) its way out of the abyss.
So those issues are not quite so overwhelming and more people can return to other things.
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
My completely unfounded feeling is that there is much more anger this year about paying taxes and where tax dollars are going because of perceptions about the economy and worry about the future, both personal and societal. I have noticed more anger and arguing in other threads too.
Agree. Lots of uncertainty => anxiety => anger. I guess the anger subsides when the uncertainty goes away.

Quote:
My favorite software package is free TurboTax on Vanguard.
I used it this year - first in a while. Free makes it nice. UI - I still prefer H&R Block. What makes the difference for me was the auto download of financial accounts info. A sw product that makes paying taxes easier - isn't there something perverse in that?
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:04 PM   #10
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Is it me or are there more posts on taxes along with an angrier tone? I don’t remember this from last year – although the S&P at 800 had everyone’s attention then. Or is this a normal, seasonal thing?
What has struck me the last few days is the number of threads dealing with the possibility the US may add or switch to a VAT. I think there are three or four of them going simultaneously.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:06 PM   #11
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What has struck me the last few days is the number of threads dealing with the possibility the US may add or switch to a VAT. I think there are three or four of them going simultaneously.
Well, Paul Volcker has recently mentioned it as a way to raise revenue, and he's a pretty well-respected heavy hitter in the world of economics. So it's not just by accident that all this VAT talk has started.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
I could be wrong and I'm not inviting political discussion here, but I think the growing anger isn't so much the level of taxation as the feeling that our taxes are being used to subsidize the recklessness and bad decisions of other entities, be they consumers or corporations. They get greedy and screw up, and we pay to make them whole again. Meanwhile, entities which were responsible and didn't point the loaded gun at their own heads get nothing but the increasing tax bill. Most folks are generous with respect to people who genuinely try hard, play by the rules and are temporarily down on their luck, but not so much with entities which were ruined by their own greed and bad decision-making.

And the more we see our taxes going to these things, the more we resent paying taxes. (That's the "royal" we and obviously doesn't apply to everyone.) Add to that the fact that almost everyone knows we have no real choice but to raise taxes to pay down all this debt, and the resentment increases even more.
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:21 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Also, taxes get more complex every year, so it makes sense that the grumbling increases every year.

I personally think it an absolute crime that the average employed person (or retired person with average investments) even needs to consider buying a software package, or consider which one is 'best', or consider paying someone to do their taxes.

I could compromise and say that an open-source format spreadsheet should be available for downloads from the Feds and each State, and taxes should be simple enough that a series of entries results in an indisputably correct tax return. The ss would do the adding, subtracting, multiply, divide, and a few simple 'if' conditions, and provide a conveniently neat way to print it and e-file.

There should be no need for 'programs', really.

-ERD50
+1. If fact, some number of years ago I created this spreadsheet, and now from year to year I just update it for the new numbers and changes that apply to me... But obviously, I should not be doing that. Like ERD50 said, government should be supplying these if they make the system so complex. Seems like at least they started moving in that direction with online free file fillable forms, but so far it's still in bad shape.

Interestingly, state and local taxes (in my locality) are much less complex and have online system worked out very well. No reason why Fed taxes should not be both simplified and streamlined for average user.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:05 AM   #14
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To the OP, yes there does seem to be more frustration this year to my ear. I suspect it is because we are all focused on new uses for our taxes (expanded health care) and a looming debt crisis that we know we won't slide by.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:59 AM   #15
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I'll be glad when May comes around. The debt and politics will still be there, but I'm hoping to "tax posting frenzy" will have settled down a bit...
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:09 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Is it me or are there more posts on taxes along with an angrier tone? I don’t remember this from last year – although the S&P at 800 had everyone’s attention then. Or is this a normal, seasonal thing?
Well, you can always depend on me to grouse about taxes, 365.25 and 24/7.
I'm surrounded by them on all sides.
The good news is I live out in the country. I could not afford metropolitan taxes in any size city in NY state (not NYC). So I make do.
I want to move, I really do. I just can't afford to until dh2b retires.

In general, I'm detecting a "mad as h*ll" attitude about taxes. And you know what? I agree with that feeling. Sometimes people gotta get this stuff off their chest. No harm done.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:09 PM   #17
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I'll be glad when May comes around. The debt and politics will still be there, but I'm hoping to "tax posting frenzy" will have settled down a bit...
I typically skip the threads that don't interest me. Just sayin'.

-ERD50
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:47 PM   #18
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Or we can go to the British system where if you make below a certain amount they figure your taxes for you... and tells the company how much to withhold from your check.. easy....

Now, I am not sure if this is true, but I was told this by a good number of people who made below that magic number... me, I was to high...
This is true, but I'm not sure it is the amount you earn, rather than the complexity of your tax calculations. I rarely filled in a tax return when we lived in the UK and, particularly when we were both working, were high earners. I listen to the podcast of the BBC program "Money Box" every week and this last week it was on taxes and it is obvious that the majority of folks in the UK are still on the PAYE scheme (Pay As You Earn) where you don't file a tax return unless you need or want to.

The UK tax code is very simple for the average wage earner, and taxes are also taken from interest and dividends at source. Each April you get a statement from the IRS summarizing your allowances, deductions, tax paid and the amount that should have been paid. If you have over or under paid then they adjust your "tax code" (allowance) to balance it out during the coming year. If the difference is large enough then they can demand payment now, or you can request a check if you've overpaid.

Even charitable contributions are easy - the tax payer doesn't get the tax break, the organization claims the tax back.

Even though income taxes are much higher in the UK there is very little hassle. The IRS takes it all first and if you are lucky they give you a shirt to wear on your back (to spend on goods with 17.5% VAT applied to them to get that shirt back).

As to the OP, I don't really know why this year in particular there have been so many anti-tax threads here except for the fact that for years now we have had tax cuts, unfunded increases in benefits (Medicare Prescriptions), unfunded wars, loss of tax revenue with the recession, plus the bailouts. So the focus is on tax increases as the easiest way to get back to the surpluses of 10 years ago.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:58 PM   #19
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As to the OP, I don't really know why this year in particular there have been so many anti-tax threads here except for the fact that for years now we have had tax cuts, unfunded increases in benefits (Medicare Prescriptions), unfunded wars, loss of tax revenue with the recession, plus the bailouts. So the focus is on tax increases as the easiest way to get back to the surpluses of 10 years ago.
Kinda sums it up pretty nicely, wouldn't ya say?
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:28 PM   #20
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Compaining about the tax code always strikes me as a waste of time: I don't enjoy paying taxes, but I cannot change anything about it, so I might as well do what I can to minimize the hit and get on with life. Seems like complaining about gravity, to me at least.
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