Years ago, I forgot about a small amount of money that I earned on a freelance writing project. The infamous April 15 rolled around and I filed my state and federal tax returns, begrudgingly, like always because, really, who in their right mind likes to pay taxes? A few months later, I received a lovely little letter from the Internal Revenue Service on heavy white paper with raised black letterhead. It was addressed, certified, to me. Warm and fuzzy words like felony, prison, immediately, and treble damages popped off the page as I read it. After reading the tersely worded letter about twelve times, I had this disturbing image of two beefy guys in wife-beater t-shirts with moldy cigars dangling from their wet lips coming to my apartment to chop off my legs if I didn’t pay up. Pronto. Evidently I underreported my income for the year, since I forgot to include the monies earned from the freelance work. So, I did what most normal American taxpayers without a Washington D.C. address and expensive lawyers do when they receive these kinds of love letters from Uncle Sam: I paid it. Thankfully, it wasn’t a huge amount. And I still have my legs.
But there is one thing that annoys me about that whole experience. How is it that a peon like me, someone who lives in the desert tundra miles from Washington, gets her hand whacked weeks—if not one or two months—after she files her tax returns when some of our supposedly most brilliant politicians owe thousands (or hundreds of thousands) and only fess up to it (and pay it) when they’re being vetted for Cabinet positions or political office? Did they get the same IRS love letter that I got? The same treatment?
Um, I’m thinking not.
And I’m pretty sure the excuse “Nobody’s perfect” wouldn’t have worked to my advantage as they hauled me off to prison in handcuffs.
I’m not picking on any particular political party either—Democrats, Republicans, Independents—they’re all guilty as far as I’m concerned, and there are plenty who “forget” that they have to pay taxes on rental income, consulting contracts, limousine services, and live-in nannies and wouldn’t that be nice? I always wanted my own limousine. But these politicians are always the same people who want more of my hard-earned income to line their pockets and pay for their lame pet projects.
Sadly, the federal government regardless of party is an equal opportunity corrupter. Pay up or shut up? Please. I’d really like to see a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party. No taxation without representation! But I could do without the whole ships burning in the harbor thing.
::Writer X also writes at The 100 Most Annoying Things::