So I finally got my taxes done last night. Four years ago, I used an accountant and vowed never to file myself from that point on. Predictably, the following three years were all filed by myself due to extreme procrastination. But this year, I filed with an accountant again. And I’m super happy I did.
So far, I’ve always gotten money back, but I never know, so it always feels like the opposite is going to happen. If all I had was a W-2, taxes would be a lot easier. But that isn’t the case, and so they’re complicated for me.
But the whole US Income tax system is pretty bad. It doesn’t feel like a system that was designed to make sense. It only gets more complicated year-to-year, never simpler. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, coined the term “confusopoly” for an industry where pricing plans are complicated and different from company to company. This essentially makes it incredibly hard to compare, for instance, what phone plan you need from Verizon vs. Sprint vs. AT&T. They’re banking on you not putting the effort in so they don’t have to compete on price. The US income tax system feels similar to me. Now, I know it wasn’t designed to be confusing, at least not initially, but as new rule changes, deductions, tax tables, etc. get added every year, it has ballooned into a nightmare for anything but the simplest returns.
I have no way of truly knowing whether I received all of the deductions I should’ve. I trust an accountant to be better at it than me, but I may not have given him information for another deduction because I didn’t know it existed. Whether or not it’s on purpose, I believe people overpay in taxes far more often than they underpay, simply because they don’t know what deductions they’re eligible for, or if they do, there’s often several ways to pop it into the tax return.
We need something simpler, that looks like it was DESIGNED ON PURPOSE, and made to be understandable.