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(The New Republic)   If they taxed all the people who were too stupid to know that the internet makes doing your taxes easy, we could erase the deficit   (newrepublic.com) divider line 83
    More: Asinine, deficits, income taxes  
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2325 clicks; posted to Politics » on 14 Apr 2014 at 4:36 PM (22 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-14 02:40:04 PM
Two things I don't like machines helping me with:  Voting, and taxes.
 
2014-04-14 02:45:23 PM
Yeah...it's easy until your god damn tablet won't load the Schedule-A PDF!!


/smashes something
 
2014-04-14 02:56:37 PM
We already tax stupid. It's called the lottery.
 
2014-04-14 03:01:58 PM

iheartscotch: We already tax stupid. It's called the lottery.


Heh.
 
2014-04-14 04:40:16 PM
58 percent of the 1,012 adults surveyed said filing their tax return was "very easy" or "somewhat easy."

1.bp.blogspot.com

"I would have guessed 47%..."
 
2014-04-14 04:40:46 PM

dittybopper: Two things I don't like machines helping me with:  Voting, and taxes.


At least with taxes there's a paper trail. Somewhere.
 
2014-04-14 04:43:14 PM
Just did my taxes today. Took less than an hour online.
Did not use the EZ form. Did not itemize.
 
2014-04-14 04:43:17 PM
I once had this conversation with someone who had a problem with the tax code:

Him: "I wouldn't mind paying more in taxes at all if they were just simpler!"

Me: "Well the hard part is the actual deduction, so if you want you can just take no deductions and your taxes would be a lot simpler, you would just be paying more like you want."

Him:"No I don't want to pay more".
 
2014-04-14 04:44:23 PM

UberDave: Yeah...it's easy until your god damn tablet won't load the Schedule-A PDF!!


/smashes something


Now that's just farking lazy, seriously.
 
2014-04-14 04:45:40 PM

Without Fail: Just did my taxes today. Took less than an hour online.
Did not use the EZ form. Did not itemize.


Did the same for a friend last night; real easy.
 
2014-04-14 04:51:31 PM
The tax code is too complicated we need to remove deductions and simplify the tax rules.  While we are at it lets make this revenue neutral and cut rates and remove brackets.

re:  This will not work because removing brackets will not make taxes more simple.
 
2014-04-14 04:52:05 PM
This goes back to that "hard to make a mistake on a 1040EZ" thread from a couple of days ago.

Taxes are hard for people with a lot of things to tax.  They're less hard for the average American.
 
2014-04-14 04:55:04 PM
Taxes are a snap when you're broke.
 
2014-04-14 04:59:27 PM
FFS, the 1040EZ and 1040A instruction booklets are practically written in flowcharts.

Then again, most Americans can't read for content to save their lives. Sure they can sound out the words, but actually extracting meaning from them?
 
2014-04-14 05:02:57 PM

Zagloba: FFS, the 1040EZ and 1040A instruction booklets are practically written in flowcharts.

Then again, most Americans can't read for content to save their lives. Sure they can sound out the words, but actually extracting meaning from them?


tldr
 
2014-04-14 05:04:49 PM
You ever notice that there are a disturbingly high number of people in this country that will intentionally try to make everything they do as complicated as they can? These people are especially represented when it comes to doing their taxes. It is just amazing how many people make the process of just doing your taxes yourself or finding someone to do them for you an ordeal.
 
2014-04-14 05:05:48 PM
Payroll withholding is the most brilliantly evil idea devised by the mind of man.
 
2014-04-14 05:06:19 PM

Lost Thought 00: Taxes are a snap when you're broke.


This. I don't agree with the Republicans about a goddamn thing, but if doing your taxes takes 10 minutes per year, you are probably not very successful.

/not very successful
 
2014-04-14 05:07:36 PM

Wellon Dowd: Payroll withholding is the most brilliantly evil idea devised by the mind of man.


It's better than the previous methods - torture, imprisonment, and execution.
 
2014-04-14 05:07:41 PM

serial_crusher: Taxes are hard for people with a lot of things to tax. They're less hard for the average American.


Actually, taxes are easy for everyone.
Finding loopholes is hard.
 
2014-04-14 05:09:55 PM

Without Fail: serial_crusher: Taxes are hard for people with a lot of things to tax. They're less hard for the average American.

Actually, taxes are easy for everyone.
Finding loopholes is hard.


No, they honestly get exceptionally hard once you start employing other people.
 
2014-04-14 05:14:23 PM
With investment income, rental properties losing money, first year with a kid, multiple incomes (gross over $150,00), healthcare expenses, charity and other itemizing, I am in the bucket where all the extra forms make filing taxes moderately more time consuming for me... and I am also in the bucket where what I pay ends up being very annoying, as a result of being on the wrong side of the cusp for which the "income phase-outs" on credits and deductions are applied. Boo hoo... I know...
 
2014-04-14 05:14:39 PM

Without Fail: serial_crusher: Taxes are hard for people with a lot of things to tax. They're less hard for the average American.

Actually, taxes are easy for everyone.
Finding loopholes is hard.


Agreed. I've had a few years where I've had weird income, and I've had to figure out new forms and schedules and whathaveyou, but it always, always, always came down to just writing the correct numbers in the correct spaces, and then doing the simplest math ever.

And what's more, when you do it that way, rather than trying to figure out how to loophole your way out of every cent possible, you can be pretty sure you won't be audited, and if so, who cares? They can audit me all they want. Not because I'm broke, but because I don't mind paying my share. If you're not try to skirt your way around paying in some way, then you have nothing to hide from an audit.
 
2014-04-14 05:19:34 PM
Well if we taxed everyone who had wealth over 5 million dollars 100% of everything over 5 million dollars we would have a surplus.

Duh.
 
2014-04-14 05:23:00 PM
As I've moved overseas this is the first year mine are tricky, mostly proving I meet the US requirements of a tax resident of another country. The rule book for that has lots of very specific rules defining space and time, especially when dealing with airplanes, airspace and international waters.

Here's the NZ income tax brackets, for comparison:

up to $14,000                     10.5%
from $14,001 - $48,000      17.5%
from $48,001 to $70,000     30%
$70,001 and over                33%

That's pretty much the individual tax code. No requirement to file, everyone is taxed individually (no joint married returns), no standard deduction (or any others I'm aware of), and there's a child tax credit. Very simple. The tax code itself is not as progressive in some ways, but it actually buys significant social services, such as free healthcare, 4 months of paid parental leave, free parenting support services, etc.
 
2014-04-14 05:26:18 PM

Without Fail: serial_crusher: Taxes are hard for people with a lot of things to tax. They're less hard for the average American.

Actually, taxes are easy for everyone.
Finding loopholes is hard.


I disagree.  My employee stock purchase plan makes taxes hard thanks to some discrepancies between the way my company withholds and reports stuff on my W2, the way the stock broker reports sales, the way TurboTax expects them to report stuff, and the forms the IRS expects me to have (but I don't).

Unless your definition of a "loophole" includes not sending the IRS an extra $2500 even though that money was already withheld from my pay checks, that shiat is hard without a loophole.

It would be great if they got that stuff standardized properly and took TurboTax out of the middle-man business.  Then my taxes would be easy.

/ after so many years of going down the same rabbit hole I really should remember the process now.  The hardest part is wrangling up the right forms and figuring out which fields on the paperwork Merill Lynch me map to which fields on the 1099 that the IRS instructions expect them to have sent me.
// first world problems.
 
2014-04-14 05:33:23 PM

Wellon Dowd: Payroll withholding is the most brilliantly evil idea devised by the mind of man.


Wait till you enjoy the business version: required prepayment of estimated taxes.
 
2014-04-14 05:36:37 PM
Meh,filing is easy. Our return is more complicated than some, but there isn't a whole lot of hoops through which to jump. I just hate seeing all the poors struggling out there.
 
2014-04-14 05:40:15 PM
Conservatives often argue that high marginal tax rates discourage work.

True, but this is because conservatives are very, very stupid.
 
2014-04-14 05:51:21 PM

Safari Ken: Without Fail: serial_crusher: Taxes are hard for people with a lot of things to tax. They're less hard for the average American.

Actually, taxes are easy for everyone.
Finding loopholes is hard.

Agreed. I've had a few years where I've had weird income, and I've had to figure out new forms and schedules and whathaveyou, but it always, always, always came down to just writing the correct numbers in the correct spaces, and then doing the simplest math ever.

And what's more, when you do it that way, rather than trying to figure out how to loophole your way out of every cent possible, you can be pretty sure you won't be audited, and if so, who cares? They can audit me all they want. Not because I'm broke, but because I don't mind paying my share. If you're not try to skirt your way around paying in some way, then you have nothing to hide from an audit.


My uncle used to own his own business manufacturing specialty machine parts (he's since retired). He got audited once. The pain from the audit wasn't financial (as far as I know, he came up clean), but from the process of demonstrating to the IRS that everything was accurate. The little bit I saw them doing looked like a headache and a half.
 
2014-04-14 05:54:59 PM
I did my taxes over the weekend. I'm in the first year of owning a sole proprietorship and had a bunch of complex stuff go down. In the end it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, using TurboTax at any rate. Once I began to understand the basic premise and read the supporting pubs on the IRS website, it made a lot more sense.

Still took several hours over 3 days to do, because I didn't have everything I needed to hand at once. And I learned a lot about what deductions you can take, as well as what my responsibilities are this coming year- like issuing 1099s to my subcontractors (thankfully I didn't have enough payouts to anyone last year to need that, but I've more than quadrupled payouts to contractors over the entirety of last year in just the first 3 months of this year).

And weirdly, I actually got a (small) refund. So winning, I guess. It truly isn't that hard, especially if you don't spend a lot of cash.
 
2014-04-14 05:55:50 PM
Taxes would be easy if I didn't like the extra income from being a gigging musician. Gigs that pay in cash/tips are great. Churches that put me on the books and issue a 1099-MISC are annoying.

Estimated tax payments and numerous 1099s and a schedule C are not exactly fun, but Taxslayer.com makes it easy.

/the only good thing about making student loan payment is deducting the interest.
//also mortgage interest and property tax deductions.
///sometimes miss the 1040-EZ and big refunds... Sometimes
 
2014-04-14 06:02:32 PM
FTA: derp derp derp derp
"43 percent of respondents say they used a computer or website to do so while another 48 percent use a professional tax preparer. "
derp derp derp
 
2014-04-14 06:48:02 PM

UberDave: Yeah...it's easy until your god damn tablet won't load the Schedule-A PDF!!


/smashes something

LITERAL

first-world problem.
 
2014-04-14 06:49:13 PM
Stupid formatting.
 
2014-04-14 06:57:37 PM
This article conflates two separate things that are tangentially related, "taxes are hard" and "Republicans want to go down to 2 tax brackets in order to simplify taxes." 1 is kind of a problem. Sure, taxes aren't hard if you use software or a tax preparer but it seems to me that if taxes were easy, you wouldn't need those things. There are so many forms and the tax code is long and complicated. It's probably not a huge problem, but it's not NOT a problem. And going down to 2 tax brackets? Christ, Repubs, quit farking that chicken already.
 
2014-04-14 07:03:10 PM
For the vast majority of Americans, there is no need to file a tax return at all because there are no itemizations or deductions that the IRS doesn't already have from your employers, banks, insurance, investments, etc.  You're just telling it everything that it already knows.

We could do like some countries in Europe and Asia do, and let you just sign to accept what the IRS already has (or amend it if you wish), but the GOP (and Intuit) has blocked it for decades saying that if they made taxes less painful/expensive, it wouldn't be as good a political football.
 
2014-04-14 07:11:03 PM
taxes are easy

take ten minutes.


unless you're rich
in which case you deserve the hassle.
 
2014-04-14 07:18:24 PM

Delta1212: Safari Ken: Without Fail: serial_crusher: Taxes are hard for people with a lot of things to tax. They're less hard for the average American.

Actually, taxes are easy for everyone.
Finding loopholes is hard.

Agreed. I've had a few years where I've had weird income, and I've had to figure out new forms and schedules and whathaveyou, but it always, always, always came down to just writing the correct numbers in the correct spaces, and then doing the simplest math ever.

And what's more, when you do it that way, rather than trying to figure out how to loophole your way out of every cent possible, you can be pretty sure you won't be audited, and if so, who cares? They can audit me all they want. Not because I'm broke, but because I don't mind paying my share. If you're not try to skirt your way around paying in some way, then you have nothing to hide from an audit.

My uncle used to own his own business manufacturing specialty machine parts (he's since retired). He got audited once. The pain from the audit wasn't financial (as far as I know, he came up clean), but from the process of demonstrating to the IRS that everything was accurate. The little bit I saw them doing looked like a headache and a half.


It's true, all my experience comes from filing as an individual. Now that you say it, I help archive records for my current company, and the sheer amount of stuff they need to keep, mostly in case of an audit, is mind-boggling (it boggles my non-accountant mind, anyway.)
 
2014-04-14 07:18:42 PM
Or we could have politicians and bureaucrats with the cojones to stand up to the goddamn tax prep/tax loopholes buried to benefit a very specific group of people lobbies.

That'd be neat.
 
2014-04-14 07:21:25 PM

davynelson: taxes are easy

take ten minutes.


unless you're rich
in which case you deserve the hassle.


Or self employed
 
2014-04-14 07:38:49 PM

Yakk: davynelson: taxes are easy

take ten minutes.


unless you're rich
in which case you deserve the hassle.

Or self employed


Or really, anytime someone else like your employer or accountant doesn't do the majority of the work for you. Preparing four course meals for a family is a snap, especially when you hire a professional chef to do all the work.
 
2014-04-14 08:17:42 PM

sleeping8008: Or really, anytime someone else like your employer or accountant doesn't do the majority of the work for you. Preparing four course meals for a family is a snap, especially when you hire a professional chef to do all the work.


Or really, any time you can follow well documented, explicit, simple instructions.

My worst tax year was the one where my wife was given a 1099 for a substitute teaching position. It was god awful- took all of four hours or so to do the paperwork.

The hard part isn't the tax forms, or understanding the tax forms, it's 1) understanding the nuances of the tax forms and 2) not having documentation you should have kept around anyway. It all boils down to understanding what can be claimed as a deduction, if it gets too hard you can always just say f**k it and keep better records for the deduction next year.

Some deductions are just stupid. My wife could theoretically claim the educator's deduction, up to $250, but doing so would require keeping receipts as justification. The amount you save (25% on $250, in her case) is hardly worth the bother from a year-end point of view, and given the odds of those receipts surviving for seven years in the event of an audit it isn't worth the hassle.
 
2014-04-14 08:28:25 PM

Rug Doctor: Lost Thought 00: Taxes are a snap when you're broke.

This. I don't agree with the Republicans about a goddamn thing, but if doing your taxes takes 10 minutes per year, you are probably not very successful.

/not very successful


I don't know.  I consider myself pretty successful, and my stuff is pretty basic. Income from work, live in apartment, no kids (success!!!), car paid off, investments include roth IRA, traditional IRA, 401k.  Have student loan payments, don't itemize.  I took about 15 getting my stuff ready and 5 reviewing.  I think people often make hassles for themselves by not knowing how to work effectively.
 
2014-04-14 08:30:02 PM

Fubini: sleeping8008: Or really, anytime someone else like your employer or accountant doesn't do the majority of the work for you. Preparing four course meals for a family is a snap, especially when you hire a professional chef to do all the work.

Or really, any time you can follow well documented, explicit, simple instructions.

My worst tax year was the one where my wife was given a 1099 for a substitute teaching position. It was god awful- took all of four hours or so to do the paperwork.

The hard part isn't the tax forms, or understanding the tax forms, it's 1) understanding the nuances of the tax forms and 2) not having documentation you should have kept around anyway. It all boils down to understanding what can be claimed as a deduction, if it gets too hard you can always just say f**k it and keep better records for the deduction next year.

Some deductions are just stupid. My wife could theoretically claim the educator's deduction, up to $250, but doing so would require keeping receipts as justification. The amount you save (25% on $250, in her case) is hardly worth the bother from a year-end point of view, and given the odds of those receipts surviving for seven years in the event of an audit it isn't worth the hassle.


The Educator deduction isn't stupid, but it is a stern reminder that most teachers have to pay out of pocket for certain classroom materials that school districts should pay for. Trust me, auditors are really looking at Schedules C, D and E shennanigans. If you are self employed and running a Schedule C and E, you best keep all your reciepts, and that IS a pain.

Worst deduction of all: Mortgage interest. Because if you are a rich fark who owns a lot of property, just write it all off. Honestly, I think the Mortgage interest deduction should only apply if that is your primary residence.
 
2014-04-14 08:30:34 PM

Without Fail: serial_crusher: Taxes are hard for people with a lot of things to tax. They're less hard for the average American.

Actually, taxes are easy for everyone.
Finding loopholes is hard.


If you change jobs and need to move- there are expenses that are deductible.  You run a business that benefits the community or are involved in charitable work- here are deductions for that.  You lose a limb at work or find yourself with some life changing disability or family member who is physically or mentally impaired- they got deductions for that too.  Not every deduction is a loophole.
 
2014-04-14 08:33:53 PM

Wessoman: Fubini: sleeping8008: Or really, anytime someone else like your employer or accountant doesn't do the majority of the work for you. Preparing four course meals for a family is a snap, especially when you hire a professional chef to do all the work.

Or really, any time you can follow well documented, explicit, simple instructions.

My worst tax year was the one where my wife was given a 1099 for a substitute teaching position. It was god awful- took all of four hours or so to do the paperwork.

The hard part isn't the tax forms, or understanding the tax forms, it's 1) understanding the nuances of the tax forms and 2) not having documentation you should have kept around anyway. It all boils down to understanding what can be claimed as a deduction, if it gets too hard you can always just say f**k it and keep better records for the deduction next year.

Some deductions are just stupid. My wife could theoretically claim the educator's deduction, up to $250, but doing so would require keeping receipts as justification. The amount you save (25% on $250, in her case) is hardly worth the bother from a year-end point of view, and given the odds of those receipts surviving for seven years in the event of an audit it isn't worth the hassle.

The Educator deduction isn't stupid, but it is a stern reminder that most teachers have to pay out of pocket for certain classroom materials that school districts should pay for. Trust me, auditors are really looking at Schedules C, D and E shennanigans. If you are self employed and running a Schedule C and E, you best keep all your reciepts, and that IS a pain.

Worst deduction of all: Mortgage interest. Because if you are a rich fark who owns a lot of property, just write it all off. Honestly, I think the Mortgage interest deduction should only apply if that is your primary residence.


As far as I know it is limited to two homes.
 
2014-04-14 08:38:05 PM
I think most people get confused by the sheer number of line items on the front and back of the 1040.  I mean seriously how many returns actually have a figure in the "certain business expenses of reservists, performing artists, and fee based government officials" box.

Oh, and also when income is high enough that the credits/deductions start getting phased out and AMT becomes an issue.

/tax preparer.
 
2014-04-14 08:43:40 PM

ongbok: You ever notice that there are a disturbingly high number of people in this country that will intentionally try to make everything they do as complicated as they can? These people are especially represented when it comes to doing their taxes. It is just amazing how many people make the process of just doing your taxes yourself or finding someone to do them for you an ordeal.


So they're like every person in every infomercial ever.
 
2014-04-14 08:45:26 PM

jst3p: Wessoman: Fubini: sleeping8008: Or really, anytime someone else like your employer or accountant doesn't do the majority of the work for you. Preparing four course meals for a family is a snap, especially when you hire a professional chef to do all the work.

Or really, any time you can follow well documented, explicit, simple instructions.

My worst tax year was the one where my wife was given a 1099 for a substitute teaching position. It was god awful- took all of four hours or so to do the paperwork.

The hard part isn't the tax forms, or understanding the tax forms, it's 1) understanding the nuances of the tax forms and 2) not having documentation you should have kept around anyway. It all boils down to understanding what can be claimed as a deduction, if it gets too hard you can always just say f**k it and keep better records for the deduction next year.

Some deductions are just stupid. My wife could theoretically claim the educator's deduction, up to $250, but doing so would require keeping receipts as justification. The amount you save (25% on $250, in her case) is hardly worth the bother from a year-end point of view, and given the odds of those receipts surviving for seven years in the event of an audit it isn't worth the hassle.

The Educator deduction isn't stupid, but it is a stern reminder that most teachers have to pay out of pocket for certain classroom materials that school districts should pay for. Trust me, auditors are really looking at Schedules C, D and E shennanigans. If you are self employed and running a Schedule C and E, you best keep all your reciepts, and that IS a pain.

Worst deduction of all: Mortgage interest. Because if you are a rich fark who owns a lot of property, just write it all off. Honestly, I think the Mortgage interest deduction should only apply if that is your primary residence.

As far as I know it is limited to two homes.


Two properties, not homes. At a time.
 
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