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.