Tax Rascal

Plain Writing Act of 2010: Can Taxes Ever Make Sense?

Categories: Uncategorized

Last week congress passed H.R. 946 into law, generally known as the known as the Plain Writing Act. What this is will hopefully do is make sure that government documents can be understood by the average person. Fewer acronyms, less jargon, more straight talk.

Great, right? Finally some governance for the people, by the people, and understood by the people. But, like many federal government laws, it has some flaws.

First, it’s ridiculous that this law even needed to be enacted. For those of us who are fans of smaller government, we want less laws (and more common sense) not more laws that legislate common sense. Of course people should be given forms that make sense to them–I just don’t … Read more...

Have You Filed Your Tax Extension Yet?

Categories: Uncategorized

The smell of fall is in the air, which means the smell of rising panic over the tax extension deadline is approaching! For those of you who had the foresight to miss the April 15th deadline, but fill out the extension form, your time is almost up!

And for those of us who work in the tax biz, it’s our time to contemplate the value of a tax extension. Me? I’m all for them. I think people shouldn’t be penalized for missing deadlines, nor do I think the government should be allowed to slam you with high interest fees the second your taxes are past due.

The thing that always fascinates me about extensions is how few people seem know … Read more...

Tax Cuts Killed the Three-Martini Lunch

Categories: Tax Policy

Do income tax rates really matter? The intuitive answer is that they must — a higher income tax discourages people from working as hard as they might, but also provides extra funds to the government. Oddly enough, neither of these points are quite true: according to economist Kurt Hauser, government revenue is always about 19.5% of GDP, whether top tax rates are 91% or 28%. Meanwhile, a glance through the list of countries in order of top tax rate shows that there isn’t a strong relationship there, either: economic basketcase Zimbabwe is right next to Australia.

It’s easy to take this information as evidence that tax rates are completely meaningless the long run. But that’s a little hasty. A … Read more...


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