The Blessing of Income Tax

December 30, 2007

Am I insane!  No one thinks giving a significant portion of their hard earned income is a blessing!  However, before you send someone out to put me in the loony bin, consider the following circumstances:

The more money you make, the more income tax you are required to pay.  A blessing?  Yes, in a round-about way. If you had to pay more income tax last year, it means you also earned more in spendable income.

Consider the alternative.  For years, I did not even have to file income tax, because I did not even make enough to qualify. However, that did not mean I was doing great in the financial department.  I was going to school, newly divorced, and trying to raise two small children alone.  Financial speaking, we lived well below the poverty line.

Now, I have to file income tax.  Do I feel blessed?  Most definitely!

No, I do not always agree on how the government spends the income tax of its citizens.  Yes, I wish the politicians had to be as careful with their finances as the average household.  However, I still feel blessed.

I drive on the US highways; my freedom is protected by servicemen and women whose wages I help to pay.  Most importantly, if I have to pay taxes, it means that my personal financial situation has vastly improved.

So, before you begrudgingly file your income tax this year, consider the alternate.  Just maybe, you will consider the blessings of income tax. 

Just my thoughts,

Tina

Tina

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15 Responses to The Blessing of Income Tax

  • danny

    You could look at it as a blessing OR you could look at it like the government as a legal band of thieves…

  • kitty

    …”absurdity of AMT”…
    Interestingly, because of the absurdity of AMT, in early 2000s a number of people with relatively modest incomes bankrupted themselves paying AMT. They worked for telecom or high tech startups that paid part of their (sometimes fairly modest) salary in incentive stock options. They exercised the options, but decided to hold on to stock for a year to get long term capital gains (perfectly find under normal tax – btw on Saturday I heard Suze Orman giving the recommendation to a caller to exercise ISO and hold on to stock for a year; how many people do know about AMT?). Then the company tanked, the stock became worthless, but they still owed huge amount of money to the IRS.

    I am sure they all feel blessed.

    BTW – I certainly am grateful that I earn enough to think about AMT (no, I don’t have ISOs, just read personal stories when I looked into AMT) and I do see the point, and I don’t mind paying taxes, but there is a lot of unfairness and stupidity in the system.

  • bill

    I don’t particularly like paying taxes, but I do because I’m required to. I do take exception to paying a higher percentage of my earnings. I think a flat tax we be more equitable. You still end up paying more if you make more, but the percentage is the same across the income spectrum.

  • Tina

    Fortunate,
    I am glad you understand my point. Yes, I would LOVE to keep 100% of my income, and no, I do not always agree with how it is spent.

    But, I have been in the process of divorce, raising two small kids, and seriously ill all at the same time. I had no choice but to accept help from friends, family, and the government.

    Thus, I am VERY glad to be a productive member of society, supporting my kids, and paying taxes. (No politics involved-just a sense of gratefulness.)

  • Fortunate

    I think some of you might be missing the point. Paying taxes stinks in many, many, MANY ways but I agree with Tina there is a positive side. I just “discovered” the absurdity of the AMT this year, for example. Why have I never heard of it before? Because I didn’t make enough money to qualify. I am happy that I now make more money. I prefer to worry about the AMT than to worry about groceries.

  • kitty

    PatrioticAmerican, we object because there is a lot of waste in government and very little accounting. All major corporations are audited to make sure the money aren’t misappropriated and while fraud happens, when it is found, there are consequences. When was the last time we heard about the government hiring an accounting firm to audit that the money aren’t misspent? Do we see anybody in government persequted for fraud? Why do we often get the reports of how trillions just vanished into thin air either in the military or in Iraq or somewhere else (http://benfrank.net/patriots/news/national/pentagon_missing_trillions)? How can money just vanish? Can you even imagine this anmount – to most of us it is just an abstract mathematical entity. Sure we want to support our soldiers. What we don’t want to support is some general getting $640 toilet seats(some scandal some years ago) or a general taking a military plane on a nice ride to a wedding. A CEO who had $5000 shower curtains supposedly from company money is in jail. Why aren’t people who spent $640 on a toilet seat in jail?

    Then there are things like farm subsidies which often support rich farmers and do nothing for the poor ones. Or government-subsidized insurance for (super) rich families who own ocean-front propreties. Or lack of competitive bidding for many projects that result in waste. Or purely made contracts with contractors that result in government spending money for substandard products.

    Here is another lovely link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/05/18/MN251738.DTL

    So no, I don’t want to give money that are going to just disappear.

  • Amanda

    How much of a blessing would it be if you got to keep all of that increase in your income?

    The income tax is most assuredly NOT a blessing. Just remember, if the government can take 30% of your income, it can also take 100%. Don’t bargain about inches of evil.

  • John

    I like income taxes for a different reason — I actually like taking the time to fill them out. It’s the one time of the year that you are forced to sit down and calculate exactly how much you’ve made in the last year. Then you have a written record that you can compare with in the subsequent years. It also makes me realize just how much money I have made and to compare how much of that money has ended up in my savings accounts versus how much of it I actually spent. Sure, I would rather not have to pay income taxes. But, I think sitting down and going through the process of filling out my taxes really helps me gain perspective of my finances.

  • PatrioticAmerican

    Paying taxes is patriotic. How is it that rich people have no problem paying dues for their country club, but they have a problem supporting a greatest police and military in the world?
    Just like Warren Buffett says, he could not have become one of the richest people in the world in a country like Bangladesh. Here are some great things you taxes pay for.
    - Education
    - Police (protection)
    - Waste Management (taking out your trash)
    - Social Security/Medicare
    - Roads

    and many more. People should stop whining about supporting for the greatest country in the world and PAY THEIR DUES!

  • Kris

    Yes, I tell myself over and over that it’s a privilege to pay income taxes in the US. Especially this year when my federal income tax bill exceeded my living expenses. (see link below)
    In the lower to middle class ranks, we have little tax incentive to make more money, because the more you make the more the IRS will take. It almost seems like a way of holding us back, keeping us down. I am not complaining, I have a very comfortable life. I am just making an observation. As long as you are working in the cubicle, you can never achieve escape velocity to burst through the middle class ceiling.

    http://thefinancialengineer.blogspot.com/2007/12/when-taxes-exceed-living-expenses.html

  • Billy Beck

    Have you ever in your life heard of “cause and effect”? The way you’re pitching this; a person could increase his income simply by sending more of it to the government every year.

    You’re out of your mind.

  • marylandterps

    Wow!!! A tax code that is longer than 70,000 pages is a blessing indeed.

    This country survived without an income tax before 1913. If we went back to the 1997 budget we would not even have to pay an income tax (Thanks for that info Ron Paul).

    P.S. The federal gasoline tax pays for highways not your income tax.

  • Richard Nikoley

    Guess you’ve never heard of the broken window fallacy.

  • Loonies And Sense

    Great post. My father is an accountant, and as he prepares his clients’ tax returns, he’s always hearing them grumble about how much they have to pay in taxes. His response is to suggest that they give him the money, and he’ll worry about paying the taxes.

    Granted, making the same annual salary without paying income tax would be pretty sweet, but I’d rather have 70% of my income than 0% any day.

  • WJ

    Very interesting outlook. Great to hear a different perspective on things, even income taxes.

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