I’m mad as H-E-double-toothpicks and I’m not going to take it anymore.
“Now, Curt …” I can hear you say. “You know very well that only rabid dogs get mad. People get angry.”
OK, then, I’m angry.
Somebody owes me money, and the worse part about it is that I don’t know who it is.
Again, I can hear you: “How is that even possible, Curt? You must know who owes you money if you gave it to them in the first place.”
Well, that’s the thing … I didn’t give it to him, her or them … whomever it is. My money was taken from me by him, her or them. And I can clear this entire thing up with one simple word: Taxes.
“What could Texas have to do with your money being taken?” you ask.
No, you’re not listening very well. I said TAXES.
About this time of year, for the better part of 45 years, I’ve submitted a tax return to the Internal Revenue Service. Most of those years I’ve sent in two — one for state taxes and one for federal taxes. It’s like clockwork for a majority of us. And when we reach the end of whatever form fits us best, we find out whether we owe the government more money or how much the government owes us.
We can argue and debate whether the process is a fair one, but the bottom line is that the process is in place for a reason and we all must adhere to it until something better replaces it.
For a number of years, I regularly found myself owing money to the state and federal government. I didn’t like it, but I found a way to pay it. Every penny. On time. Filing an extension, in my mind, was just putting off until tomorrow what I should be doing today.
Another old saying comes to mind: “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
Well, I’m going to add something to that … death, taxes and cheaters.
The IRS estimates that the annual “tax gap,” or amount of uncollected taxes, stands at more than $400 billion. Yes, I said BILLION.
With the tax deadline looming on April 15, there are a plethora of commercials on television and radio from folks who take aim at those who have spent years not paying their taxes — to the tune of tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
First, I want to know how someone can accumulate a huge tax debt like that and still be laying their head down at night outside of prison walls. I mean, we’ve all heard just how mean, uncaring and persistent the IRS can be.
These commercials tout the ability to help wipe clear any outstanding tax debt, usually $10,000 or more, allowing the negligent, non-taxpayer to start a new tab with the IRS. The company in question — and those with the most commercials include The Fresh Start Initiative, Tax Solutions Now and Victory Tax Solutions — claim to be able to stop wage garnishments, end efforts to take away a home and other assets, and, perhaps the most irksome claim of all … be able to give the non-tax-paying tinpot up to a 90-percent reduction in what they owe in taxes.
So the big question is, if all that can be accomplished, then why do any of us pay our taxes? Why don’t we all just let the tab grow? Just use what we normally send to the IRS for things like vacations or vehicles or whatever else we may want — until we need to contact one of these companies and let them cut huge amounts of our debt?
Obviously, those of us who are honest and answer to a higher calling than many of the non-paying sluggards, just couldn’t do that. But it is vexatious that folks who owe money can get out of it with little more than a phone call.
“OK, Curt, we’ve listened to your rant,” you are thinking. “So who owes you money?”
Sigh … I wish I knew. But, if there is any sympathy, donations of change or food are always welcome.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 920-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.