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franklin county times

There is so much to say about tax season

It is that time of year again where you gather up pay stubs, receipts and government forms in an effort to decide how much of your salary from the previous year the federal and state governments gets to keep.

That is right, it is tax time.

To some people paying taxes is merely a civic duty required to keep the state and country running smoothly. To others it is a sign government spending is spiraling out of control, requiring average citizens to cough up more and more money to fund things from which they will never benefit.

Ironically this country was founded with the intention of avoiding the payment of taxes. Actually it was taxation without representation the Founding Fathers were rebelling against.

Gerald Barzan later said, “Taxation with representation ain’t so hot either.”

Anybody who has been in need of a tax refund only to find out they have to pay more taxes can attest to the accuracy of that quote.

There have been several great quotes about taxes throughout the years. Some have been in support of taxes.

“Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said.

That is true enough. Without federal taxes we would not have the Federal Interstate System that allows for the quick transportation of goods across the country to help keep the economy going — not to mention a faster route to our favorite vacation spots.

But for every positive quote about taxation, there are probably several dozen quotes criticizing taxes.

“What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue,” said Thomas Paine, author of “Common Sense” — a pamphlet that was one of the driving forces behind the Revolutionary War.

“I’m proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money,” Arthur Godfrey said.

Even Will Rogers, who was an actor, author, humorist and pundit, took time to let people know his disdain for paying taxes.

“If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don’t get wet you can keep,” he once said.

Rogers joked the irony of paying taxes is that instead of advancing the country, it has set the United States back.

“The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has,” Rogers said. “ Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you don’t know when it’s through if you are a crook or a martyr.”

But the truth of the matter is we have to pay taxes or we face jail time — or worse, a face-to-face meeting with an IRS agent. Instead of complaining about having to pay taxes, think of the good things taxes provide.

You can also remember this quote from John Andrew Holmes, “If the Lord loveth a cheerful giver, how he must hate the taxpayer!”

What am I saying? It is humanly impossible to be cheerful while filling out tax forms as your eyes begin to cross while trying to figure out the language of the bureaucrats.

Having finished my taxes earlier this week, I am reminded of the words of George Harrison from the song “Taxman” by The Beatles:

“If you drive a car – I’ll tax the street; If you try to sit – I’ll tax your seat;  If you get too cold – I’ll tax the heat; If you take a walk – I’ll tax your feet.”

Good luck with your taxes.

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