View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Monday, March 31, 2014

Tax man cometh.



“I am proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is – I could be just as proud for half the money.” — Arthur Godfrey, entertainer
"Taxation with representation ain’t so hot either.” — Gerald Barzan, humorist
“Income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf.” — Will Rogers, humorist 

 When they arrived at Capernaum, the tax men came to Peter and asked, "Does your teacher pay taxes?" Peter said, "Of course." But as soon as they were in the house, Jesus confronted him. "Simon, what do you think? When a king levies a tax, who pays--his children or his subjects?"   He answered, "His subjects." Jesus said, "Then the children get off free, right?   But so we don't upset them needlessly, go down to the lake, cast a hook, and pull in the first fish that bites. Open its mouth and you'll find a coin. Take it and give it to the tax men. It will be enough for both of us."   Matt. 17:24-27 msg

It has been another “interesting” year for the Query household.  Our life is sort of like flying; long uneventful periods of time when nothing seems to be happening punctuated by moments of sheer terror.  2007 was no different and I expect the same for 2008.   When you have played bumper tag with a Mexican semi, had all eight lug bolts snap off on a front hub, narrowly escaped running head on with a Mexican SUV who was on the wrong side of a narrow highway, and came within seconds of an electrical fire in the trailer brake controller in Las Vegas, I am not sure much could phase us in 08.  Then there were the California wild fires, of which one went through my dad’s mobile home park, torching about 140 homes, but barely missing his.  2007 will go into the books as the year of multiple miracles

So, how was your 2007 and what are you expecting for 2008?  Jeri and I are praying for a little less excitement, a little more time at home, more time with the kids and grand-kids and more time with friends.  But most of all, answers to our long list of people who we are praying daily for salvation, that God in his mercy would draw them close to him. 

By now your probably wondering where this is going since it has nothing to do with the quotes and scripture located at the beginning.  Patience, we’re getting there.

With the beginning of a new year arriving, each one of us approaches this time with different expectations and anxieties.  Many will be worrying about how to pay off all those credit cards used to purchase Christmas gifts, and kicking themselves for spending so much in the first place.  Credit cards have made impulse buying so easy it borders on criminal.  Some will be hoping that they had enough withholding tax held back to cover their impending tax bill.  Others will be scrambling to come up with the money to pay their taxes because they failed to plan ahead. 

As I have been preparing these last couple of weeks for our annual migration south, one of my tasks has been to close the books on the ranch and gather all the information for the tax return.  Our farm/ranch/200 acre yard is in a corporation and those returns have to be filed by March 15th every year so we are always on the road when the filing dead line arrives.   Then I can take my own sweet time about filing my 1040 return because I don’t pay taxes and there’s no dead line for that. 
“What” you say?  “You don’t pay taxes?  How do you get away with that?”   Well, it’s simple.  Having retired from the IRS, one of the fringe benefits that’s little known is retired revenue agents don’t have to pay t------, No, not really!!  Just foolin’ with you. 

The bottom line is – it is always the bottom line - if you don’t earn any money, you don’t have any tax to pay.  So, for all those budding wanabe tax protesters out there, to avoid paying taxes, just don’t earn any money.

 Or, you can sell everything, close out your bank accounts, cash in your 401K, buy a motor home and a utility trailer, stock it up with some kind of fast food items, or fill it with cheap jewelry, CD’s, tee shirts, you name it, and hit the road for 365 days covering every county fair, flee market, 4th of July, Memorial day, labor day, hog wild and mule day events  in the lower 48 states.  Deal in cash only, no checks or credit cards and keep moving to the music of Willy Nelson and “On the Road Again”.   Keep no records, burn everything. 

You’ll have lots of friends.  You’ve seen them, the ones with cut off tee-shirts and lots of tattoos, one or more teeth missing, smoke stained fingers, smoke coming out of most their body orifices, and a distinct foreign accent from Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama or Arkansas.  Oh, yea baby, this is the life!!  Just you and me and 4 yappy dogs crammed in a 290 square foot motor home like rats in a tin can.  Woo Haaa!!

I always got a kick out of working with tax protesters.  If they had worked half as hard at earning a living and paying their taxes as they did planning and scheming to avoid paying taxes, they would have been well ahead of where they ended up financially.  

Of course, for most of us, obeying the law and following Jesus’ example and instruction is enough.  We bite the bullet and pay what is due.  The reward for that is we get to gripe and complain to our hearts desire about it in a country that is free and allows you to complain all you want as long as you want. 

There was a time – a looong time – when we were farming where there was not enough money to support us, let alone pay taxes.  Then we both had to go back to work for wages and started to pay taxes again.  Man, that felt good! So I look forward to some day having to pay taxes again, because it will mean I have more money coming in.  Hopefully it won’t mean I had to go back to work for it.  That would put a real crimp in my golf game.  My prayer for you all this year is for you to stay employed and paying into social security so I can keep playing golf.    



             

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