News · Opinion

Relax, it’s Only Tax

It’s Tax Day in the United States.

This is the April 15 tradition. Of course, if April 15 falls on a Friday, our taxes are due on Monday, April 18. Then it April 15 is on Saturday or Sunday, tax returns must be filed on the following Monday, unless it is April 16, which is a legal holiday in Washington, D.C. (Emancipation Day). But who cares about that when you’ve got a return to file?!

Thanks to the Civil War, we had the Revenue Act of 1861, which helped fund the bloodiest war on American soil. In the olden days, taxes were more of an assessment of value. After some more legal cases I won’t bore you about here, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified to allow Congress a legal authority to tax all earned and received income.

It’s a known fact, I think, that Tax Day causes a large amount of stress on the average individual. Likewise, car accidents increase. However, unless you owe money, April 15 shouldn’t really be a burden on you. While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) probably wouldn’t admit it, as long as you do not owe money, the filing deadline isn’t too much of a burden on your future. But a five percent penalty would apply to your taxable income if you owe and file after April 15. For those of us who owe zero, no penalty exists.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t paid your taxes yet, you might want to get on that and stop reading this. But if you’ve chosen to continue, here are a few things worth noting:

If you’re running late, you can always file for an extension until mid-October. That is of course, just like anything, if you qualify for that extension. Millions of people do it, so join the club. If you are afraid you cannot pay your share of the tax burden, the IRS will offer a monthly payment plan as long as you owe less than $50,000. Applying online for that payment plan is an easy option.

 

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Happy Tax Day, ‘Merica!

Most folks can file online with ease as long as your yearly income is under $58,000. You can use the free IRS software or TurboTax as a quick option.

Today, many people see taxes as a voluntary decision. Unless you qualify as someone who does not have to file a return, taxes are not voluntary. In fact, the IRS will come after you – pitchfork in hand – to collect your hard earned, taxable income.

One of the biggest excuses when it comes to not filing a tax return is that taxes are unfair and unconstitutional. I’m a huge advocate of a fair tax system, opposed to the current, failing tax policy we now must endure. Really, I find I’m a fan of many other policy changes the government may not fully agree with.

However, it doesn’t seem this nation’s tax policy will be changing anytime soon. And you’ll have to file again next year, just as you did this year granted you’re able to hold a job and/or receive taxable income (moonshiners, exempt, of course).

So grin and bear it. April 15 is here and it will be here again next year. We’ll go through the same motions of filing and requesting our Visa Prepaid refund card. Taxing is as American as apple pie – a very expensive pie that leaves a really bad taste in your mouth.

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