By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Big surprise, as Tax Day approaches. According to a recent survey, when forced to choose their least favorite activity, a majority of people chose death over taxes. Technically, 51 percent said that attending a funeral is their least favorite thing to do, and only 21 percent said their least favorite activity was paying their taxes. Just as many people enjoy paying their taxes as love to visit their dentist (23 percent), but only 5 percent would rather visit the in-laws.
It’s no wonder people equate being under a dentist’s drill with paying their taxes. They both involve a high level of pain and are better done while heavily medicated. Not only are taxes too high, they’re too complicated to figure out. Everybody procrastinates instead of doing them. For most families, figuring out taxes has become so onerous that unless we’re talking about a 1040-EZ form, most people now have to get professional help with their taxes. The risks of mistakes are too high and the costs in terms of time are unbelievable. It’s become it’s own tax in itself--in terms of going to H&R Block, or buying TurboTax, or hiring a professional accountant--so it now costs money to pay your taxes. And that’s for the few people who still pay federal income tax, which is fast approaching a minority of Americans. It’s the newest unwritten, unfunded government mandate: professional tax preparation.