This year, we not only have to contend with Tax Day on April 15, but also with Tax Freedom Day and Tax Tea Parties this week.
What's a busy CPA to do with so many holidays clustered around the same time, not to mention those other hardy perennials, Easter and Passover? Oy!
Actually the Tax Tea Party phenomenon is relatively new, aside from the one in Boston about 236 years ago. This time around, most of the participants won't be dressed as Native Americans, and they're more likely to be dumping tiny bags of Lipton and Nestea than boxfuls of the British East India Company's wares. But unlike the local version that occurred in Boston Harbor not long before our nation's War of Independence, this year's tea parties are taking place far and wide, on the strength of buzz across the Internet and the 24-hour cable news channels.
The protests are aimed at the Obama administration's tax policies. I won't debate the merits of our latter-day tea party protests, except to note that the only folks who probably should be out protesting this time around are those who earn over $250,000 per year in adjusted gross income. In 1773, the issue was taxation without representation, especially stamp taxes, which seem quaint now.
But perhaps more interesting to accountants is Tax Freedom Day, which rolls around every year, but typically not on the exact same day, and rarely the same day as tax deadline day. It is supposed to occur on the first day of the year in which the U.S. as a whole has theoretically earned enough money to fund its annual tax burden. The Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based research group, usually determines for the rest of us when they think Tax Freedom Day will occur.
This year, they decided that it arrived April 13 (Monday, that is), eight days earlier than 2008. That was also a full two weeks earlier than in 2007, and they cited two reasons for this seeming disparity. For one, the recession has reduced tax collections even faster than it has reduced income lately. Secondly, the stimulus package includes large temporary tax cuts for 2009 and 2010.
Doesn't it feel great to celebrate Tax Freedom Day, and even better than that, the end of tax season? So instead of dumping some teabags in the nearest body of water, or the nearest trash receptacle, it's time to shred some old tax returns and clear the desk for a well-earned rest.
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