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©February 2000

Carol Jane Remsburg



Tax Time



It happens every year without fail.  More certain than the promise of Spring, the tax man cometh . . .  And every year I work so hard to avoid the inevitable.  Today was also the monthly "bill paying" date, so it was a double-whammy of sorts.  Each year I hope it isn't as bad as it seems.


Each month as I sit down to pay my monthly bills I say a small prayer like most of us do.  That prayer hopes that we'll have enough scratch to cover our expenses with a little left over.  It usually works out that way but that gut-wrenching knot arrives before I even begin to sort through all the bill envelopes in the bill basket before reconciling my bank account and then proceeding.  I look upon it as small doses of arsenic that helps to build up my tolerance for the spike at arrives the end of each January and the beginning of each February. 


There was a movie years and years back in 1971 named A Clockwork Orange.  It was about the use of aversion therapy to cure violent behavior by subjecting the perpetrator to a constant exposure of violence.  The movie viewers were left with the question of whether it actually worked or not.  I tend to think of my monthly bill-paying forays much along the same lines as something that will inure me to the point that I can actually stomach preparing my taxes.


I certainly do understand why we have taxes and willingly pay my share.  It's getting to the point where it's obvious that some of us pay much more than our fair share and much of that ends up allotted to things I would never opt to fund.  The taxes demanded for our schools, our roads, our military forces, our space programs, and such are all fine and good.  We need them.  We also need to pay to help those in dire need.  I balk at none of that.  I guess what burns me is the wanton waste and bureaucracy. 


I pay taxes with every paycheck I earn.  I then pay taxes on the food I buy each week.  Everything is taxed from gas for my car, the oil, electric, and phone service for my home to any major purchase such as a new home or car or computer.  Nothing is safe from the taxman.  If you fish or you hunt or you boat—all of that is taxed.  Then, to top the whole thing off, if you managed to get something back last year from your tax sacrifice—then that's taxed too! 


Why does this surprise me every year?  Why does it bother me?  Nothing else about the governing of our country seems to.  Yet this one very small, but salient point does.  It bothers the crap right out of me.


Last year we managed a tiny return.  This year with a change in hubby's employer, same place, just different bosses—they began not taking out the extra $$ he requested.  Thus this year, we had to pay.


Both my husband and myself request extra funds extracted each week to cover what we know won't be enough.  We aren't wealthy enough for tax shelters or tax write-offs or anything like that.  We are a small family that works and works and pays and pays.  When I fill out my tax forms I don't cheat.  I don't have anything to cheat with, but I doubt that I would even if I could.  I do believe in paying my fair share.  It's just that so many don't and the rest of us end up paying through our bloody noses.


When I hear how others have cheated the taxman I simmer for hours afterward.  It isn't fair.  I know life isn't fair, yet our taxes should be. 


Every year we hear the words "tax reform" repeated endlessly.  Often we can only hope that's the case.  Therefore it's just another year of paying and hoping.  Maybe next year . . .


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