How do we let people pay their taxes?
This week, in the U.S., our taxes are due to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Many of us find the task daunting, overwhelming, confusing and draining.
This year for me there was something about this process that had me feel simultaneously inadequate, stingy and angry. For anyone who knows me these are not three common emotions I typically experience.
A few weeks ago my husband shared with me Amanda Palmer’s Art of Asking Ted Talk. At the end of the video he looked at me, and said, “how do we let people pay their taxes?” At the time I had some brilliant thought like, how the hell do I know?
But, actually, I do know… yes, there could be some policy changes simplifying the tax code and allowing me to reallocate my taxes toward the things I care about (our infrastructure, our environment, job retraining and education from early childhood to financing for college) but given the state of our Democracy right now I’m not going to wait…
I will start with me right now, with my story – my context – about taxes. If I choose to see my tax payment as a gift to my country, my tithe (more like a double tithe) but a tithe nonetheless, if I bless the offering and allow for this money to flow to farm subsidies, border control, military weaponry as well as the National Park Service, the Veterans Administration, my father’s Social Security check, and my neighbor’s Medicare payment: I am free.
Do I wish that the government requested me to offer my gift rather than demanded it of me, with very stiff penalties if I don’t comply? Yes, but they haven’t. For today I offer it freely, as well as the time and expense it took to prepare all seven returns my family must submit.
May my time and money bless all who receive it and may they be benefited by it.
I request that you offer a percent of your income and investments freely today and join me to be free of our tax burden.