Patty Craig: A Slice of Time
April 15 makes me feel anxious. After all, it’s ‘Tax Day,’ the last day to file our income taxes.
The United States government imposed its first personal income tax, on August 5, 1861. Income tax laws changed over time. In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax a permanent part of our tax structure. Withholding taxes were introduced in 1943, collecting personal taxes on a “pay-as-you-earn basis” (Wikipedia). Tax corrections are made after the end of the tax year. These corrections take one of two forms: a payment to the government or a tax refund from the government. Our income tax system has deductions available that lessen the total tax liability by reducing total taxable income. This year, Tax Day actually falls on Tuesday, April 17.
For three or four years after my last husband and I married, my grandmother filled out our income tax forms for us. She completed her own tax forms and helped us by doing ours as well. Eventually, I took over the tax forms. That’s when my ‘Tax Day’ anxiety began. It did not take long for me to realize that someone with training could do a much better job than I.
Many of us joke about our income taxes – that’s one way to deal with the pain. Other people have also found humor in taxes:
• Tax day is the day that ordinary Americans send their money to Washington, D.C., and wealthy Americans send their money to the Cayman Islands. –Jimmy Kimmel
• I'm not going to pay taxes. When they say I'm going to prison, I'll say no, prisons cost taxpayers a lot of money. You keep what it would have cost to incarcerate me, and we'll call it even. –Jimmy Kimmel
• On Tax Day it is good to remember: No problem is so big or so complicated it can not be run away from. –Charles Schultz in Peanuts comic strip
• April 15 is lurking around the corner, so if you have yet to file your federal tax return, it's time to set aside a few hours, gather together your financial records, and flee the country.
• But one must take pride in paying up every April 15. Look at it this way: If you don't spend your dollars on the IRS, you'd probably just squander it on foolish things, like food, rent.
–Cindy Adams, NY Post
• A survey shows Americans find filing their taxes slightly more bearable than going to a funeral -- which could explain why thousands put off doing their returns until the last minute.
–Nirvi Shah, Miami Herald
Through the years, several friends have shared their income-tax horror stories with me. Of course, my Tax Day anxiety only increased. And now, Tax Day is just around the corner. Luckily, I filed early this year.