March 2, 2015 by Liberty
There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to tax time for libertarians. Taxes are an unbelievably complicated subject. There is no “right” way to fill out them. No matter how hard you try, there is going to be some law on page ten thousand something of the tax code that you happen to break. Even professionals are regularly caught making mistakes. (Hell, even IRS professionals aren’t familiar with all the laws.) Since there is no way to be perfectly accurate with taxes, you need to focus on one of a few different options.
Some people believe it’s best to focus on maximizing return. They support this focus by saying that you’re getting what you’re legally owed. You’re maximizing personal return all while reducing government funding. Maximizing return means focusing on every deduction and tax break you can squeeze out. On a business perspective, this makes a lot of sense. On a personal perspective, I find this to be a little hard to follow.
First of all, I don’t increase my income doing taxes. Maybe you do but I don’t. I would gladly surrender my tax return just to not have to fill out taxes for a return check but legally, I’m required to do it. Factoring in the stress of filling out and understanding taxes, I’d much prefer to just work a little more on what I normally do. I already factored my taxes in as a loss. It feels like I’m turning around to pick up pennies I dropped (or had stolen.)
Second, no matter how much money I get on my tax return, government doesn’t care. Government’s spending is not limited by tax gains. The government getting a couple grand more in their wallets will have a completely immeasurable effect on government. It will not help because it might as well be a rounding error for most of these government programs.
I tend to focus my tax energy on a different approach. When I fill out taxes, I want low stress on myself. Screw that home office deduction. Screw maximizing every penny for my return. Fill out the taxes legally as possible.
Here are four ways to make tax time take up as little time as possible with little to no stress on your part:
Seriously, don’t skip out on your taxes. Now, I respect your commitment. I really believe it’s a noble pursuit but you are sacrificing your own freedom for a bunch of people that really don’t care about you.
Yes. You’ll probably get away with not paying your taxes for a while. The IRS lets people not pay taxes for years at a time to make sure the person builds up enough of a debt to be prosecuted easily. Eventually, this will catch up to you. Even if you’re not caught for a decade or two, when you are caught, it’s going to be way more painful than just spending a day to pay those taxes.
Not paying will not change government spending. They’re willing to go in any amount of debt. Your relatively tiny income will not change that. Sure, if tens of millions of people joined in, you might have something but think about it this way:
If you wore skinny jeans, had a funny haircut, and listened to records twenty years ago you wouldn’t have been a hipster. You would have been a creepy weirdo. For a decade you’d have been made fun of needlessly. Even if that whole hipster thing is cool now, if you’d have waited a decade you’d have had to suffer none of it.
Tax rebellion isn’t this year. There is no reason to believe it is. When it happens, it’s not going to be your decades of getting made fun of that helps. It’s going to be stuff that no one can predict. You’ll know when the time comes. Now is not the time. You’re just being a hipster ten years too soon.
2. Ignore Tax Revolutionaries
There are always new people claiming they’ve figured out how to legally not pay taxes. In fact, some of those new people have been right. That being said, government still prosecutes them.
It doesn’t matter how good a case some tax revolutionary makes against the law. Tax courts aren’t a fair legal place. They’re just there to give legitimacy to the extortion. It’s an illusion. Treat it as such.
When someone tells you they have a legal way to not pay taxes, or dramatically reduce your taxes, be cautious. It’s usually bull. Don’t make your life the test case for this kind of thing. If it’s not standard procedure for the average tax professional then it’s not likely a good idea to be playing with.
Really, your life is worth more than letting government ream you for more.
3. Don’t Fight For Pennies
Really. You don’t need every tax break. It’s just not worth the trouble. There is always another tax break you can take. With careful planning, you may be able to reduce your tax burden significantly. That being said, it’s usually not worth it.
This is something that I’ve changed my opinion on in recent years. I used to be all about getting every penny back possible but after a little legal trouble (unrelated to taxes. I had an employer get liberal about paying paychecks,) I realized how much I hate legal documents. Seriously, just read a tax document and you should understand. It’s written in a way that makes you want to drive screwdrivers in your eyes.
The stress of fighting for most tax deductions isn’t worth it. Maybe, it’s worth it on those big purchases but if you have any doubt about a deductions value then just skip it. More importantly, don’t go hunting big new deductions. You can waste hours and hours trying to plan for new deductions and then make virtually nothing.
You’re not a tax strategist. Hire a professional for that. The time required to master many of these things is not worth the investment for an individual. Sure, it’s good to understand the basics but you only can invest so much time in it.
4. Hire A Pro
That brings me to my last point.
If you really want to cut yourself out of the equation then hire a professional. You’re not a tax pro. You haven’t invested decades of your life doing taxes. If you did, it would probably cost you more money than it’s worth.
Hiring a professional lets you pass the stress of your taxes onto somebody else. Sure, you’re still legally responsible. Tax professionals have screwed up in the past. That being said, individuals screw up too. A professional doesn’t guarantee perfection but it does eliminate much of the stress when it comes to details. I personally think it’s worth it.
So, sit down and pay that extortion people. The sooner you get it over with the sooner you’re going to be moving on with the more important things in your life.
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