GratiTuesday: Tax Returns

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.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

71 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Tax Returns”

  1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 😂😂😂

    1. 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.

    1. 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.)

      1. 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!

  5. 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?

  6. What an important perspective, Janis. An excellent reminder. There’s nothing on your list I’d be happy to forego!

  7. And I am grateful to be able to have a peek at the world through your eyes. Thank you for a very refreshing post!

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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 😉

  12. 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


  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    1. 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.

  15. 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 🙂

    1. 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 😜

  16. 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.


  17. 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!

  18. 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.

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