Tax season is such a delight. Just as the daffodils bloom where we live, so do the tax forms. Truly, I doubt there are as many daffodils on earth as there are tax forms. A big pile of them reside in our home.
With marriage equality comes more responsibility. Well, not for me; my sweetheart has the fortitude and know-how to tackle whatever the I.R.S. demands of us. I cower in my writing chair, grateful to her for yet another reason.
Things are no so equal in our household in this one way, but oh so much more equal than in brackets far above ours. I keep reading about mega billionaires and corporations that don’t pay any taxes. About places to hide money offshore. And I think about gay people more than willing to pay not just taxes, but the “marriage tax,” in exchange for acceptance in the United States.
I’ve always been willing to pay my taxes without complaint. It’s clear to me that’s how you run a country. I was tempted to withhold them in protest against the Viet Nam war. Fortunately, I didn’t have to because my earnings have never been high enough to warrant making out a check to the I.R.S. Perhaps I’d feel differently if I made the big bucks?
Probably not. The taxes taken out from 50 years of paychecks have paid for horrific things. Collateral damage, napalm, the salaries of politicians who don’t know the difference between government and religion. Enforcement of discriminatory laws, troops and law enforcement savaging protesters, sacrificing our young to unwise military actions.
No way are enough of our taxes used for education, public transportation or help for small farmers competing with mega agribusiness. Our food is in danger for the sake of profit making and for lack of funds to inspect it. The Affordable Care Act should be swollen with cash, not a bulls-eye for target practice. Head Start, daycare workers, caregivers – if only the federal and state governments followed the lead of businesses like Working Assets and let taxpayers check off our spending preferences from a list.
The money leaves our hands and we might as well hold Easter egg hunts among the daffodils and newly green grasses to find it again. We could use some of that cash on the federal highway near our home; it’s crumbling into the Pacific. This area is seeing unprecedented numbers of homeless people asking for handouts on street corners. There is money to roust them from unauthorized homeless camps, but not to pay them to repair the highway. Hey, how about monies to help homeless gay teens? Or using all that moola we spend fighting marijuana to sniff out meth labs in every state.
Whatever happened to investing in our country? There isn’t even money to go after the big tax scofflaws. Tax rebels abound. I’d think it would be simple: you live here, you pay for the privilege. It’s for our own good. What makes sense about tax protesters who call themselves patriots?
Working for the I.R.S. has become dangerous. There’s a law enforcement term, Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT), for people who threaten or intimidate I.R.S. employees, contractors and/or their families. A recent interview of such an employee revealed that she and co-workers at a large I.R.S. processing center hide their occupations from neighbors and strangers because they are fearful of reprisals for doing their jobs.
By the time the daylilies come up in our little yard, the taxes will be done. This is a complex year for us tax-wise, because of our 2013 move, my sweetheart’s job changes and my retirement from wage-paying work. Next year our pile of forms won’t rival the height of lamp posts.
The best news is that spring has sprung. The first fluffed out robin sat on a bush outside our kitchen window for quite a while yesterday, as if wondering why he came back only to find rain and 60 mile per hour winds. Other good news is the modest tax refund we’ll get for the three years since our legal marriage. Not exactly reparations for the way gays have been treated while responsibly paying our share. It’s a very welcome refund, though. Maybe we’ll tithe part to one of the great organizations that helped make our marriage legal and our tax statement a joint one.
Copyright Lee Lynch 2014