Today is the filing deadline for federal and state taxes in the United States. Like just about everyone, I don’t relish the process of completing our tax returns nor do I enjoy writing a check and mailing it to the government.
But, here’s some of what I do enjoy:
- I enjoy driving on well-maintained roads that are safe and free of potholes.
- I enjoy having K-12 schools that are in good repair, provide students with up-to-date school books, and offer teachers salaries that allow them to live in the community where they work.
- I enjoy having a quality college and university system that educates the workforce of the future.
- I enjoy having police and fire departments that provide public safety.
- I enjoy the fresh, safe drinking water that comes right out of the tap.
- I enjoy visiting our state and national parks and want to maintain them for future generations.
- I enjoy being able to access our public libraries and check out just about any book I want.
- I enjoy our non-profit, award-winning Public Broadcasting System.
- I enjoy having a strong national defense.
- I enjoy the benefits of our government investing in science, technology, health research, food safety, public health services, and disease control.
- I (will) enjoy the benefits of Social Security and Medicare and appreciate the safety net these programs provide.
While I am not comfortable with our country’s debt levels and I know our government could be more efficient, I know that much of what I enjoy would not exist without taxes. I may not be happy about writing that check, but I am grateful for the benefits that I get in return.
71 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Tax Returns”
I don’t think any of us like to pay taxes, but I think many forget what they fund.
It’s good to remind ourselves once in a while.
I’m totally with you on this. Everyone wants the services, they don’t come free.
That is so true. I’d love to ask those who brag about paying little or no taxes who they expect to pay for the services they enjoy (of course the answer would be the rest of us)
Until we figure out how to grow a money tree, we have to pay up.
Yep, a money tree would be great!
good one, jill!
Yes, I agree. And we all benefit. The common good matters a great deal. I’d add universal access to healthcare to the list of things I am happy to pay for.
I would gladly pay for universal healthcare in this country. The amazing thing is that- judging from the countries that have it – it would actually be cheaper for all of us in the long run.
Indeed. Our current system pays vast salaries for insurance and drug company executives as well as dividends to all their stockholders. So much money doesn’t actually go for health care.
Actually, there are several world models to choose from and unfortunately we as Americans have attached a ‘socialized medicine’ sticker on the term ‘universal healthcare’ in and of itself. A comparison of 6+ models and relevance to our own American sensibilities is thoughtfully presented in the book “The Healing of American: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care” by T. R. Reid.
I heartily recommend it!
Thanks for the reading recommendation!
Here here. People like Grover Norquest lead his flock of blind lemmings over cliffs of half-truths for what government offers people. Your list is perfect. – Marty
Thank you, Marty. I could have added many more items too. I’m not sure what “Plan B” would look like if “Plan A” is to abolish the IRS and get rid of all taxes.
Janis, I totally understand where you’re coming from, but much on your list is almost non-existant and/or hanging by a thin thread IMHO. Easy and **non-controversial** case in point: basic infrastructure…
Anyway, taxes are for the common good, yes, I just don’t think the govmnt is handling them as such.
You are so right! My point is that all of these things cost money but few want to pay. That is why (in addition to money mismanagement) so many of the things on my list are under-funded. You like well-maintained roads? Well, they cost money and yet we continue to clamor for lower taxes. You can find sites on the internet that allow you to play with government spending… a little more here, a lot less there, along with the consequences of each decision. It is eye-opening.
ps-check the book I mentioned under curioussteph’s comment.
I will, thanks!
I always appreciate a post that presents a different point of view. On tax deadline day, an expression of gratitude for the taxes you’re required to pay definitely counts as an alternative viewpoint. Good list, Janis.
I don’t love paying taxes, but, as Jill said, unless we find a money tree, it’s the only way to fund the services we depend on.
You nailed it with your list. You get what you pay for. These services don’t come free.
But I do have one question…..#1…… Well maintained roads that are safe and free of potholes!! Can’t remember the last time I saw a road that would fit that description. Where do you live! I wanna move there. Lol 😂😂😂
Unfortunately, it’s the same here (and we don’t have crazy weather). Although I am grateful for everything on my list, many of the areas are under-funded and could use help. It’s getting the funds allocated correctly that seems to be the challenge.
Now that is a refreshing and positive attitude to taxes. Ours are due 30 June in Australia.
I hope your tax laws and tax forms are easier to navigate than ours. Every year “they” talk about making things simpler, and every year it gets more complicated. At least I’m so glad our tax season is over for this year. (Btw, I found your comment in my spam folder… sorry for the late response.)
No problem it might have been because you were in Spam Prison LOL:) I used to manage an H&R Block office and complete tax returns but it does get so complicated. Tax laws change with each budget and especially when we are in an election year!
Well said, Janis!
Agreed. Kind of laughing though, the news says that the IRS website is down today, so there’s no way to pay your taxes online. Nice, huh?
I saw that! For “some” reason the IRS receives very little funding so I’m not surprised their website isn’t exactly robust. Fortunately, we sent in our returns early last week.
Good reminder. Now, if they would only spend our monies more wisely. 🙂
I know. I think we’d all feel better if we were comfortable with where our money was going. There are a few things I’m not all that happy paying for.
What an important perspective, Janis. An excellent reminder. There’s nothing on your list I’d be happy to forego!
Me neither. Unfortunately, many areas are being vastly underfunded… but I’m trying to remain positive 🙂
I am so happy you were able to add quite a few positive twists onto the taxation scenario dreaded by so many. Thanks for the insight!
We all like the benefits but we don’t like sending in our money. I thought it would be good to remind myself where my money goes.
And I am grateful to be able to have a peek at the world through your eyes. Thank you for a very refreshing post!
I think it was as much for me as anything. I was grumbling about writing our check… I needed to remind myself what I was paying for.
Heartily agree….taxes…no-one likes paying them…but look what they provide. I do know that some people happily receive state benefits/welfare, but try to avoid paying tax when working – without realising there’s a link between the two.
Equally maddening are the people who have risen to a position of great wealth who suddenly think that they did it all themselves and never depended on the benefits they received from the programs and services that taxes provide. It’s important for all of us to contribute.
Well-written, Janis. It’s refreshing and helpful to see things in perspective and to be reminded of the benefits of taxes.
Mark filled ours in months ago, because our health insurance provider needed “proof of income”. Then, they used the info incorrectly – which threw us off our plans – and we’ve been dealing with this nightmare for months. Anyway, Mark managed to talk to the head of Mass Health yesterday. After many hassles, and hours on hold these past months, talking to employees who didn’t know how to do their job, our insurance is now all OK, and we hope we will have helped others, with the promise of this influential woman, to re-educate her people and look into the matter. That’s the first thing I think about now, when you bring up tax returns.
Yikes! How crazy is that! Sadly much of what “experts” say isn’t necessarily true. I’m glad you were able to work it out but what a hassle for you. I hope the employees get the re-training they need. You should have gotten a discount on your insurance just for the trouble you encountered.
Well, they did offer them a job. 🙂 No discounts on “government” health plans, unfortunately.
Well said, Janis!
I too am happy to pay my taxes! I have nothing but contempt for the tax dodgers of the world.
I’m not sure how they rationalize that it’s ok not to contribute to the common good. My guess is that they are quite good at rationalization in general and do it for other bad behavior on their part.
I think they often think they are self-made so anyone can do it. No such thing as self-made – who educated them? Who educated their workforce? Who paid for the roads they drive on? Etc etc etc.
It’s good for us to remember that nothing in this life is free. Without taxes, we would not be able to function as a civilized society. Of courses there is room for improvement in our government, but even the best-run and most efficient government still needs taxes in order to do its job.
So true. Lots of room for improvement but we also enjoy the benefits every day. I’m not sure we’ll ever get the “best-run and most efficient” government but I’m not sure any country can claim that.
I roared when I saw the title of this post thinking ‘only someone as positive as Janis could feel grateful for paying taxes’. But then I read your post and am now among the converted. Thank you for putting tax day in perspective for me.
I’m never happy about writing the check and I don’t pay more than I have to (that would be nuts!) but I realize that taxes are what makes things work in this country. Things could work better but that’s another blog post topic 😉
I hope you don’t mind that I tweeted this to Paul Ryan and the GOP. You said it bette than I could have.
Sent from my iPad
I don’t mind at all… except that they’d probably miss the point. 😏
Grateful for paying taxes??? You are so brave to say it, and so right. Let’s hope that NPR and PBS will hang on long enough to continue to be on the list. Oh, and roads.
I don’t enjoy paying them but I enjoy the benefits. I do wish that I had a bigger say on how the funds are allocated. NPR and our infrastructure would definitely be up at the top.
That’s exactly right, Janis. We pay for all those services, or do away with civilization. I appreciate our first responders, our teachers, parks. Each time I come back from an overseas trip, and I can once again drive on our wide SoCal streets and six-lane freeways, I thank my lucky stars.
Your comment reminds me of our experience in Mexico last year. There were many things to love about Oaxaca – the people, the food, the culture – but their infrastructure was crumbling, or nonexistent, and the services that we rely on (and expect) as U.S. citizens were sorely lacking. All of that costs money.
When I saw the title, I was intrigued by how you were going to pull this rabbit out of the hat …. but well said!!
Our taxes are due at the end of this month and yesterday I got the unhappy news of the amount I will be sending in this year. It’s an ouchie … but you make a valid point. All eleven of them in fact.
This was an excellent and timely reminder 🙂
The taxes we pay each year has gotten a bit more complicated than when we both worked and had the money taken out of our paychecks each month. Sometimes we get money back, sometimes – like this year – we have to pay extra. It appears that my husband and I aren’t part of the super-rich that get the big tax breaks 😜
I had a similar experience this year. It is really painful to face a tax bill at the end of the year😢
I agree with you Janis, 100%. I am glad to once again be living in a province that puts the common good in the foreground rather than corporate tax cuts.
I know that I would feel a lot better about writing my check if that were true in the US. Universal healthcare would be something I’d gladly pay for.
Janis, you’ve summed up the reasons why paying taxes matters. And made me feel better about sending so much of my income off to the government. Thank you for showing the positive side of tax paying!
Writing those checks are not fun and too many people/corporations don’t pay their fair share. But I do like the benefits that come from taxes, so I pay up 🙂
Way to go looking at the bright side of something we all love to complain about!
Well, it made me feel a little bit better as I was making out our checks to the government. 🙂
I think you have a good perspective on paying taxes. If we stop and look around, we receive a lot for the money we pay, especially compared with other countries. On the other hand, it is infuriating to hear that our hard-earned tax dollars are often wasted in Washington, or spent on lavish trips, excessive security protection, and soundproof telephone booths.
Wait… I thought all that stuff would get fixed once the swamp was drained . Oh well, I’m just trying to make myself feel better by concentrating on the positive.
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