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Friday Rant: Taxes Suck

rant about paying taxes

I confess that I was really nervous about our taxes this year. I think I’m pretty smart. I went to school for a long time and have lots of diplomas and certificates hanging on my wall, but I honestly never have a clue about our taxes. Added to that is another of my irrational fears (along with birds and foods that turn from liquids to solids at room temperature) of being the subject of an IRS audit. I’m not being lazy about learning to use do it yourself software like Turbo Tax. Our taxes are really hard! We have income and expenses from all sorts of things, especially this year.

  • Normal W2 income

  • 1099 income

  • Stocks and dividends

  • Business income and expenses for an 8 employee business that also gets extra credits for certain health care and ADA laws

  • Commercial and residential rentals

  • Selling a satellite office as an asset sale and then my main practice as a stock sale

  • Non 1099 or W2 income from online ventures

  • Selling our flip house

Taxes suck. I’d rather eat gravy in a bird cage than read IRS regulations. It would take me 5,000 hours to try and understand it all, so that’s why we have an accountant. Although I will admit that all the tax tools and calculators available nowadays make it significantly easier to understand. Because we had a great income year in 2013, he advised us to pay in 110% of our prior year’s taxes before January 15th, with the warning that we were probably going to owe more in April in addition to quarterly estimates. We have been hoarding cash in preparation for the apocalypse.

Well, I got the great news this week that we are going to owe way less than expected. I seriously was thinking it would be 5 figures, but it looks like we are under 4. For about 5 minutes I was totally happy, and then it bummed me out to have to be paying what we owe. Why are taxes so hard? Doesn’t it mean I made money or that I didn’t give it to Uncle Sam in the form of a no interest loan?

Money in Your Account Seems Like It Should Be Yours

When money hits your bank account, you take ownership of it. You see it on your statement. You add it to your net worth. I even considered withdrawing the down payment on my business just so I could hold it, but decided it was probably dirty and germy anyway.

Money taken out of paychecks is not as painful. You get used to your take home pay, which is why everyone should max out their retirement plan. You don’t miss what you never see!

I know intuitively that a percentage of my income has to be put away for the government and it’s really not mine, but it still feels like it belongs to me. Yes, I know I can keep the interest (after taxes), but money sitting in savings makes about $.03 a month, so it’s not like I’m gaining a fortune here.

Don’t even get me started about things like estate tax or small business personal property tax. When I have to pay taxes on things I buy for my business only to pay taxes on those purchases again EVERY YEAR that just feels like bending over without a fight at all.

Owing Taxes is Good

I suppose I’ll try to be happy about owing money for taxes. Thankfully, we didn’t go out and buy a Mercedes with our money, and we’ll have it to pay when the day comes. We are lucky we made money last year. We are thankful that business was good. I enjoy services like roads, schools, libraries, and law enforcement. I’m trying really hard here, but still not feeling it. I don’t think it’s ever possible to be happy about taxes. I know my thinking it totally backwards, but I certainly wouldn’t be complaining about a refund check right about now.

Have you paid your taxes? How do you feel about money that is technically yours but is owed to the government?

 

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

39 comments

  1. I hate taxes as well. I’ve already spent probably close to 10 hours getting files prepped and tomorrow my wife and I will actually sit down and do them. Hopefully we can do them in one afternoon/night but I could see it spilling over into next weekend, unfortunately.

    There isn’t enough room in this comment box for me to tell you about all my views on taxes : ) I definitely do not like the structure of US income taxes and would rather we have a flat income tax or even better a flat consumption tax.

    • I think a flat tax would be too easy and therefore would never pass. The government would have to dismantle the IRS, and I don’t think they’d ever do that.

  2. The eating gravy in a bird cage image gave me a good morning laugh!

    I’m 100% with you on taxes. I was actually in a debate with a much more liberal friend of mine who would like to see people’s attitudes towards taxes change because we’re helping paying for services yada yada yada. She cited my living in NYC as a great example because my NYC-specific taxes give me great park(s), free events, etc. Ultimately, it came down to her having a far more collectivist mentality than I do. She focuses on the good of the entire community, while I feel my money should go towards, well, my good. I do feel the sting of taxes would hurt a little less if everyone got an itemized receipt of what their money went to paying for so you could at least see what you’re getting for your money. Totally impractical, but that’s my silly solution.

  3. I owe quite a bit in taxes this year, so I am with you – taxes suck! I guess they have their purpose, what with the roads needing work, and taking the garbage away, and all that but it seems like a lot. Not only are we taxed via property taxes, but also income tax, sales tax, and it goes on and on.

    I am glad I owe the government rather than them owing me – I’ve been able to save up money for the taxes and keep it in a tax-free savings account accumulating interest. But still – it’s the principle of it!

  4. Taxes do indeed suck! I have mine ready to go, but I owe a lot of money to the IRS, so I am just waiting to make the payment. I have saved up for it, but I just don’t want to do it.

    • We have a credit card that will give us 100,000 American Airlines miles after we meet our minimum spend by paying taxes. Yes, we will have some fees associated with that, but that gives us 4 round trip tickets to Kentucky to visit my family from our regional airport, which usually run around $900 each, so I think we’re coming out ahead. That makes me feel a little better but not much.

  5. In my first job out of college I didn’t have taxes withheld or any other kind of payroll deductions. I filed estimated taxes and funded my Roth IRA myself. So starting out I learned not to assume that all the money that hit my checking account is mine, which has served me pretty well over the years! I a little bit have the opposite problem – I probably self-segregate too much of my take-home pay to go toward taxes and then don’t know what to do when we don’t have to send all of it to the IRS.

    • For the last few years, we have had way to much in savings that we thought would go to taxes. It always makes me a little mad, especially this year, because the stock market did so well. I totally get the whole concept of self employment taxes, but I still don’t like it at all.

  6. It really amazes me when my friends and co-workers are delighted when they do not have to pay additional taxes at tax-time.

    What about the $$$ they just “forfeited” to the Tax-Man simply because they were unaware of simple methods to recover their own hard earned money? The Internet has provided us with an amazing opportunity to properly “educate us” – we only need to financial advantage of what’s been made available to us.

    • I try to do all the obvious things like an HSA and maxing out retirement plans. Aside from that, I’m pretty clueless as to how much to save up for taxes. We just try to keep about 35% of non-W2 income just in case.

  7. Don’t feel bad about not understanding the IRS regulations. They are deliberately written that way and not even the people in congress who vote for those taxes know what is in the IRS Code. My husband is a retired IRS agent and he struggled with our taxes this year due to some investment property we acquired from my mom. He audited multi-billion dollar corporations but dealing with our individual taxes really threw him for a loop this year!

  8. I hate this time of year because of taxes and for the same reasons you mention. I would just love to know when I start a year, how much I am going to pay at the end of it. I hate that it seems impossible to “plan” for taxes because of all of the quirks and changes to tax law. I really wish we could move to a flat tax system. I always say that I don’t care what the number is or how much I owe, but if I had all year to plan and know that that amount would not change, it would take a lot of stress out of my life.

    • It really is like a huge chess game, and I have never really know how to play chess. We’ve had money sitting around since April that could have really earned some money in the stock market, but we didn’t want to risk it because we weren’t sure of taxes. I guess it’s better to have it than not, but it was almost like it was held hostage for a year.

  9. I try to think of all the things my taxes pay for- helping people in need, providing clean streets, park access, etc.

    • It seems like all the things that we enjoy and get benefit from are state or local tax related. I wish I felt like federal taxes were a little more transparent as to what I’m funding.

  10. Ugh, I’m meeting with our accountant on Wednesday and I’m not looking forward to it in the least. Hopefully we won’t owe this year – I always have extra taken out of my paycheck each month to try and cover all of our extra income taxes out of my paycheck rather than writing a check in April. We might miss out on interest, but I just HATE having to write a check to the govt.

    • It is much less painful when you don’t owe. I know I did owe and already paid, but something about sending extra is just like an extra kick in the pants.

  11. I know what you mean about not seeing it in the first place being easier. I pay a lot of taxes, but they go to pay for services I enjoy. (My spouse has a different opinion on that than I do.)

  12. I usually get a small refund so I haven’t dreaded tax time. I am gearing up to Freelance so I have found a CPA to work with me so that I don’t mess myself up!

  13. I hate them too. I will probably pay more in taxes than some people make…. Over $26K in federal taxes alone. And another $8K for the state of MN. But I guess I should feel fortunate to be in that position. Somehow, I feel I deserve that money because I work so hard.

    • I feel like I should get to keep my money too. This check should not be as bad as the one we sent in December. It really hurt!

  14. Well, you’re taxes are a bit more difficult than ours, since we don’t own an 8 person business either.
    Our taxes are so easy (mortgage interest deduction, 4 tax credits from the kiddos, and trying to put more and more money away for retirement and future healthcare (via the HSA). We’ve already filed (a few days into February, and received our refund back.

  15. Taxes do suck!!! We hate ’em too. Generally, we never end up owing much to Federal, but we almost always have to pay a bit to state.

    • From the comments, I’m really surprised at some of the various taxes for different states. I put no thought whatsoever into that before moving to Colorado, which seems to be a mild to moderate tax state. I guess you should consider that before you move somewhere.

  16. Don’t get me started. Our monthly nut – the amount we have to make to cover just our normal stuff – is $7000…mainly because of $2500 in income taxes and $1100 in property taxes. And we do our taxes by hand, so there is 6-7 forms to fill out every April since we make money with different side hustles and investments. Grrr…

    • Do you think property taxes are high because you have no state income tax? We only pay about $5000 a year on our three properties, but we also have a moderate state tax. We also don’t have a ton of services like public transportation or awesome schools where we live either.

  17. We owe quite a bit this year, but at least I didn’t give the government an interest free loan! I am waiting until April 15th to officially pay and file because I’m a pain in the ass 🙂

    No one likes taxes, but I like paying state taxes more than federal. Oregon has crazy high state taxes compared to Ohio (where I lived last year), but we also have better programs for those who need it, so it doesn’t bother me too much.

    • When we were in Oregon last summer, I thought it was odd that there wasn’t a sales tax, but I guess they make up for it in other ways. I would not mind paying higher property taxes if it meant better schools. It is nice to see a direct correlation between what you pay and what that supports. I have no idea what my federal taxes pay, probably some study to count bugs in the forest. Yes, I actually knew someone who got paid pretty well to do that.

  18. I agree. One of my friends reminded me on Friday that it was pay day. I then remembered: “oh yeah, the day I am supposed to get my check in the mail and use it for myself”, but then I also realized that I had to pay taxes and bills…
    Such a great life 🙂

  19. Yeah, Taxes to SUCK….but on the other hand having roads to drive on, schools to send our kids to, and police officers keeping us safe are pretty nice. Yeah, I’m that “glass is half full” guy. 🙂

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