April 18, 2011
Once again, as a full-time starving artist I only had to fork over to Uncle Sam a pound of flesh in the form of "self-employment taxes." On the bright side, if the Social Security system survives in its current form until I hit seventy, I'll collect about what I'm making now!
Doing my taxes reminds me what a corrupt system this is. I didn't starve that much this year, so I was a little surprised when I ended up owning no income taxes. The "Making work pay" tax credit, it turns out. I had no idea it was there until I scanned the final PDF of my 1040.
The complexity of the tax code and the resulting lack of transparency means that however politicians may swear they're helping the poor and downtrodden, the poor and downtrodden are more likely than not being screwed over by those same "tax breaks" they don't know exist.
There was even a story on the local nightly news about the "Making work pay" tax credit, reminding people to take advantage of it. The only rational recourse is to use decent tax preparation software (I use TaxAct). But that, frankly, is an utterly undemocratic solution.
The income tax has become a magical black box that turns numbers into money for reasons known only to the alchemists, which politicians then pretend came out of their own generous pockets. We may be One Nation under God, but we're being ruled by witchcraft.