The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Death or taxes, which is worse?


April 15, 2015

Brittney Cannon

Staff writer

link Brittney Cannon

Two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Which is more pleasurable, though, is still up for debate.

I kid, of course — I would rather pay my taxes than die. I’m too young, after all, and have at least three-quarters of my life still ahead of me. But I, honestly, would rather not pay taxes … just don’t tell the IRS.

It may be worth it, though, to take a look at what our taxes actually pay for, and how we all as a whole, as a team, benefit from paying them and enduring that little pinch every paycheck (or the big pinch at the end of the year if you’re an independent contractor).

Almost half of every dollar spent on taxes goes to health care and the military. The rest is divided up between unemployment and labor, interest on the federal debt (now at a scant $18 trillion), veteran’s benefits, agriculture, government, housing and community, education, international affairs, science, transportation and energy and environment.

Let’s break this thing down. Without paying taxes, you don’t have a national defense system to protect your sleeping head at night.

Without paying taxes, you aren’t being charitable and helping those less fortunate who benefit from government-sponsored health care and unemployment.

Without paying taxes, who’s going to do the research that’s required to go into finding a cure for cancer or getting the human race to Mars?

Without paying taxes, ain’t nobody gonna pave those roads for you. Ain’t nobody gonna hunt down that punk kid who stole your bike. Ain’t nobody gonna do any of those things, because ain’t no one working for free.

OK, so let’s say you don’t pay taxes this year. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

According to US News, late penalties take effect immediately after April 15 and typically equal 5 percent of unpaid taxes you owe for every month you wait to file your return, up to 25 percent of what you owe.

If you file late and fail to pay taxes you owe, you’re charged another maximum 5 percent of your unpaid taxes for every month you’re late on payments.

Sounds fun, right? Oh, it gets better.

If you don’t owe taxes and choose not to file by April 15, Uncle Sam gives you about three years to claim your return until deciding you’ve made a donation to the government — and you’ll never see that money again.

But wait, there’s more! The IRS can arrest you, too!

If you owe more than $25,000 in taxes, the IRS will give you a chance or two by sending a representative to your home or work in an attempt to collect or set up a payment. If you continue to ignore them, though, off you go to the slammer.

Hmm ... Maybe paying taxes isn’t so bad, after all.

Brittney Cannon is a deputy editor at Clovis Media Inc. Contact her at: [email protected]


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