My Facebook status reads: Taxes
Steve responds: Spends
As I tried to think of a funny way to continue this conversation the words that came to mind were ‘Drains’ or ‘Exhausts.’ While debating, my internal semantics critic began to shout. “Do you realize,” the critic asked “that all of those words are about draining and taking away?!”
Wow. I’d never though of taxes in that way before. Or I had, but without the realization that the word itself was negative. No wonder we look at this time of year with dread. Even those I know who will be getting money back each year do not look forward to sitting down with the paperwork.
What are taxes? A government mandated way to take care of others? Perhaps that’s one reason why when you give to a 501c3 you can write it off against what you otherwise might owe. In some ways making donations to an organization whose mission you support allows you to make the decision as to where your money goes. But making a commitment to donate money also comes with another price tag; your time.
While I enjoy being in business for myself, I do not enjoy sitting down to my taxes. While some would say to hire a bookkeeper, by the time I get all the receipts and paperwork together I feel like I might as well do them myself. By that point it just becomes plugging numbers into a form.
Thousands of years ago tithing a percentage of income to the church served to maintain the social support systems, taking care of those who could not take care of themselves.
In general, I believe the theory behind why we pay taxes is as a way to take care of the community needs. Although, like in ancient times some of the money that comes out of our pockets is used for things that we otherwise might not put our money towards, such as wars.
I also see taxes as an account of the energy that you’ve put out int he past year. Sitting down with the receipts can be hard or easy. I’ve recently confronted the amount of money that I spend on food, and while it has gone down, as I go through my books from last year I can see just how much was wasted. I can also see the effects on various business trips on my funds, some where the payoffs are visible and others where the gambles didn’t pay off.
Doing your taxes is a time when you can’t avoid but seeing the results of your actions. It is a time to reflect on the occurrences of the previous year. Stressful. Painful. UGH!
But as the saying goes ‘there is nothing in life certain besides death and taxes.’ Unless that’s not true…
I ask you to first to think about what purpose taxes serve and then to ask if there is another way to meet that need. Why not?