Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Taxes Suck

Ok, I admit I am not exactly breaking new ground. An American complaining about taxes is like a pope wearing a pointy hat. However, my fiance and I decided this year it was time to do our taxes ourselves. So Turbo Tax it was, as we sat down to file our taxes individually for the last time. 

Our Tax Code is so needlessly, irritatingly complicated for anyone and everyone, especially heading into the "new economy." I am a typical member of the "new service economy" I provide lighting design services for television, theatre, and architecture. I work for a company and earn a salary (reported via a W-2), but I also take on small freelance projects to supplement my income, some are 1099's, some are simply stipends paid in cash or checks. 

For someone like me, looking not to get killed on my taxes I have to figure out, what is personally deductible, what I can claim as a business expense and what my depreciable assets are. After I go through all that, trying to decipher from only the pleasant glowing screen of TurboTax what I can legally deduct and what I cannot, I come to the truly terrifying AUDIT WARNING METER!!!

Because apparently when you actually claim expenses and deductions you get audited. Now perhaps Mike Huckabee's support of the Fair Tax is an oversimplification. Perhaps the Forbes 17% flat tax, what I do know is that if we are to enter a new economy where Americans will be mixing their income sources and likely jumping from employer to employer, the tax code needs to be simplified to allow for such freelancing. Just as our regulating bodies must adapt to our new financial systems, its time for the tax code to evolve and simplify to accommodate the new working class. 

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