Sunday, April 2, 2006

Death and Taxes

Well, here's my absolute favorite question on this year's tax return: "Are you deceased?" I know what they mean — they want you to check the box if you're filing for someone deceased — but I'm just going to inform the IRS right now that once I'm dead, I'm not paying taxes anymore. I don't care if it's illegal, cause what's the government gonna do to me? I'm dead. Are they gonna dig me up and throw my rotting corpse in some federal prison? I'd like to see that. Really, I would love to see taxpayer dollars spent exhuming my corpse and putting it on trial. I might even commit a crime on my deathbed just so that happens. I really hope there's a heaven and I get a good vantage point from there.

And I'm aware that I won't be able to take it with me, but I resent the hell out of having to pay for this war in Iraq ($251 billion and counting, despite initial projections of a $50 billion price tag) or no-bid contracts for a Chinese conglomerate to run nuclear detection equipment at U.S. ports or our multi-trillion dollar national debt. I'm not going to take the awfully brave position that taxes in America are too high... just that they're too high for me. I live pretty comfortably, but on paper, I'm below the poverty line so I'm a little surprised that TurboTax thinks I owe the government a thousand dollars. Especially since 61% of American corporations payed no taxes — but probably a good chunk of change to their lawyers hunting for loopholes in the tax code — during the boom years of 1996 to 2000.

I imagine in a world of moral certitudes, it would simply be unpatriotic to search for obscure deductions in your spare time or to hide your money in Vanuatu or Liechtenstein, but it's harder for me to come up with a good reason why I should pay taxes when Halliburton doesn't pay a dime.

Oh, and don't get me started on old people and the social security tax. Like, what has an old person ever done for me, besides holding up the bus for five minutes while they're trying to climb those three steps and pay their fare.