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Why Should We Average Americans Tell The Truth On Our Taxes?

Updated on February 4, 2009


So all ready there are two political figures in the new Obama administration under scrutiny for their past tax returns. Tom Daschle, who “stepped down” while they were trying to confirm him as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services as well as Nancy Killifer who was supposed to be the first ever Chief Performance Officer is said to be “stepping down” due to some previous year’s tax difficulties. I think we’ve all known for years that it’s the rich with their high powered accounting people who end up paying little to no taxes while us poor shlubs end up paying a ton (respectively) due to the fact that we have no dummy corporations to show major losses just so we won’t end up paying Uncle Sam. Well my question is that if our elected officials and the richy rich don’t have to tell the truth then why should we “average Americans” tell the truth on our taxes? – Don’t Get Me Started!

Years ago when I was doing theatre and my income was a series of 1099s at the end of each year I would always end up owing so much in taxes that it was a little like having a credit card that you can’t ever buy anything with because it’s always over its limit. The IRS would send me threatening letters and then eventually I would go on a payment plan where they would not only make the original money I owed but they would also get much more in penalties and interest. I would get screwed on my $23,000.00 a year income big time and each month I would have to find a way to pay that IRS payment along with all my other bills. It was years before I found out that I could actually itemize and take deductions so for years the government got more money out of me than a pimp does from his whore on a Saturday night.

And this is exactly what I’m talking about. If anyone should be getting additional help to figure out the whole tax thing it should be the people who can’t afford an accountant to find the loopholes. And as someone who one year had a friend from theatre do my taxes when he went through the H & R Block course (but was really a juggler) I can tell you that he dropped more than a few of my balls that year and I ended up paying through the nose. (Which incidentally was another trick this juggler could do - produce a ball out of his nose and then juggle it!)

Through the years I’ve learned my lesson. I go to a tax professional now and listen each year as she looks at me in disgust that in the past year I haven’t bought a house, run a business into the ground or donated a kidney to someone from a third world country in order to get a tax break. I pay her money to basically glance at the receipts I’ve put together and shake her head at me. If I wanted to pay for this kind of disapproval I’d go to a church, put money in the collection plate and listen to the pastor talk about how us gays are going to hell. Honestly, the experience doesn’t feel too different.

Some years I think that I’m going to get a refund so I go running (arms outstretched tears in my eyes) to my appointment with the accountant but this is not one of those years. I have a feeling I’m going to owe big time. I have a feeling that I’m going back on the “payment plan” that is similar to the student loan I paid off for ten years when I only went to college for one semester. I know the fault is my own that I don’t educate myself more about what’s best to get me the best tax breaks or whatever but hey, what do you want from a guy who only went to college long enough to get a student ID for the discounts? (Some stereotypes about Jews are correct my friends)

Still, if the smartest and most famous people in the world get caught lying on their taxes (I’m thinking Sammy Davis, Jr. – after his death, Willie Nelson and Wesley Snipes as well as the current political figures) who could afford the craftiest of accountants in the world, what chance does a moron like me with his strip mall accountant stand? Better to lower my head and go on the payment plan once again but I don’t mind telling you that it irks me…a lot! Why should we “average Americans” tell the truth on our taxes? – Don’t Get Me Started!

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