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Things I Never Learned In School: Taxes

From my time in various classrooms, one vivid memory really stands out. I was in an English class and we were going over Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. During the discussion, one of my classmates brazenly asked, “How is this going to help me in the real world?” In all honesty, it still hasn’t. I’m not sure why the 14th century isn’t more relevant in my life, but it’s not. But, there is one thing I have in common with the 14th-century peasants and farmers. Taxes.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” And at this point, we’re even ironically taxed when we die. Unfortunately though, from Kindergarten to grade 12, the only taxes I learned about in school seemed to be the ones that caused the revolutionary war and civil war. But, I guess at some point we stopped rebelling over tariffs. I learned about sales tax the hard way when I was a boy. I tried to pay the $5 for something at a store only to realize I was a nickel short at checkout, thanks to a 5% sales tax.

Up until I was 25, they were just something taken out of my paycheck. That year it all changed. I felt so unprepared, and not being an accountant, I felt lost. Then I remembered about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. How he nearly cucked the lord of a castle while he was out hunting and then kissed him upon his return. What a weird fucking story and It was still fucking useless.

So why hadn’t I been taught at least a rudimentary concept about this annual shakedown (or payout) from the government? Honestly, I can’t tell you. Maybe it’s easier to tax the ignorant because if you don’t understand how deductions work you’ll just pay more. Maybe it’s just not a priority for the school system in comparison to dying classic literature.

I don’t recall even a pamphlet to go over in government class. At least that might have tucked a little nugget of knowledge away for later in life. Now I’m reliant on paying someone to tell me how much to pay the state and the federal government. And before anyone can call me an idiot stating that 1040 is very easy to fill out, there are finer points I’d like to address and maybe someone can tell me in the comments.

Points like, how many Goodwill donation slips can I legally use?

If my girlfriend buys something from me, can I legally deduct every date as a business expense?

Why can’t I claim my dog as a dependant? SHE IS MY BABY!

Can I expense my bar tabs if I hand out a business card?

These are some of the finer points I wish I was taught in school. These are the things I need to learn because I still have yet to file this year and if I can claim my dog as a dependent that’d be huge.

16 comments

  1. Personal finance in general needs to be taught both in high school and college. But I would suggest to all readers to educate yourself on the taxes YOU pay and deductions and credits you are eligible for. Then find out how many extra withholdings you can take to maximize your take home pay and minimize the amount taken out of each paycheck.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We’re ‘ironically taxed’? In what way are our taxes ironic? How about ‘We are, ironically, taxed until we die.’

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    1. No, it’s perfectly fine the way it is. Estate taxes, or “death taxes”, are very ironic given Benjamin Franklin’s quote. We’re not just taxed until we die, but even WHEN we die. You may not have learned about these taxes in school either.

      https://www.thebalance.com/understanding-death-estate-and-inheritance-taxes-3505690

      If you feel like you can do better, send us your very best content for us to review.

      https://theclockout.com/2019/03/07/so-you-want-to-write-for-the-clock-out/

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      1. 1. You need to look up the definition of ‘ironic.’ Everything that is odd, humorous, or about which you disagree is not ‘ironic.’
        2. Your defensiveness is rather offputting and is a bad look.
        3. You guys need an editor. The editorial constraints against which you rail serve to ensure a quality product is presented to the public. You guys are nailing jelly to the whorehouse wall and most of it kinda sucks.

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      2. 1. i·ron·ic
        /īˈränik/ happening in the opposite way to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this.
        That is the literal definition of ironic. Let’s break this down… again. Ben Franklin said, “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” He said this in 1789. When he DIED in 1790, his estate was not taxed. From his perspective death was the final salvation from being taxed anymore. He hadn’t fathomed that when someone dies, there would be a tax. Now we are taxed, ironically, even WHEN we die. Please read the following excerpt about Irony, you need this.
        https://theoatmeal.com/comics/irony

        2. I will die on this hill. My estate will be taxed. Your suggestion sucked.

        3. Why do you keep coming back? Something we’re doing has you hooked on every word we type. If it’s not broke, why fix it?

        4. If you feel like you can do better, and it sounds like you think you can, please send us some of your best content. We will also be sure to let you know if it kinda sucks too. Until then, keep huffing the paper bag you filled with your own farts.

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      3. Says the individual who’s commented on nearly 20% of all site posts, on how much they dislike said site, but keeps coming back to read more site posts.

        See point 4 in my previous response, take a deep inhale, and then write a synopsis of why you’re here.

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      4. In the time you’ve spent replying to my comments, you could have knocked out five posts.

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      5. “You aren’t the sharpest too, in the shed.”

        You’ll need to clean up the spelling if you want to be published.

        Like

      6. The content and quality of your comments has really gone down hill fast. Is this what passes for original “comments” now?

        Like

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