Around the Bluhmin’ Town
Tax Day. Oh, let the fun begin. If you are still scrambling to get your taxes filed, I hate to remind you that you are running out of time! Approximately 50 million Americans, roughly one third of the folks who file taxes, will wait till the very last minute. It causes all sorts of anxiety, stress and unnecessary headaches for all parties involved. Well, except for the Internal Revenue Service. I doubt they get too worked up about it.
There have been some memorable taxes levied throughout history. The French had a salt tax called the gabelle, which angered so many that it was a contributing factor to the French Revolution. And let’s not forget that the Boston Tea Party occurred in 1773 when 342 chests of imported British tea were thrown into the harbor due to “taxation without representation.” It started a war and the birth of a nation.
Fast forward and we still have some outrageous tax regulations. One is that the IRS specifically asks you to report any income from illegal activity, such as stealing or dealing drugs. Hmm, let’s imagine all the criminals honestly answering that question. There are also plenty of strange and wild State tax laws.
In our fair State, you can be taxed for the sale of blocks of ice, but not for ice cubes. If you live in Hawaii and have a tree in your yard that has “historic or cultural value,” expenses to maintain the tree can be deducted, up to $3000! Hey, Arizona lawmakers, pay attention! Your constituents might have trees and saguaros to maintain that have “cultural value.”
Some tax laws are simply bizarre, as in Illinois, where candy that is prepared with flour is taxed as food at one percent, but candy made without flour is taxed at 6.25 percent. Indiana also has a candy tax, which includes marshmallows, but marshmallow cream is tax free. And in Iowa pumpkins are exempt from sales tax, but only if they are to be eaten and not carved or used for decorations. Who are the mental giants who make up these laws?
If you buy a bag of hot popcorn in Michigan it will be taxed, but a bag of chips is not taxed. Buy a sliced bagel in New York and you will pay the tax on food plus tax on prepared food. Oh, and California, why must you tax vending machine purchases? At the outrageous cost of 33 percent? Yikes, most vending machine foods aren’t that good anyway.
Getting back to the looming “Tax Day” deadline, it’s time to file, pay or wait for a refund. Some folks are angry because they must pay up. Others are just giddy, planning on how they are going to spend their refund. (Please keep your joy to yourself). Others just file an extension and procrastinate even further.
If you run the words “The IRS” together, it comes out as “Theirs.” Which sort of sums up my tax situation. What I think is mine, is usually “Theirs.” Good luck to each of us as we file, pay or pray.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or at www.aroundthebluhmintown.com.
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