Illustration by Patrick Daugherty
Illustration by Patrick Daugherty

Tax-Filing Season is a Scam—Don’t be a Sheep!

By Ethan Lauren

Too many people have too many opinions; capitalism, consumerism, they’re all part of the many problems that affect us all. Yet, we seldom have the means to enact change on our own. If only we listened to experts, instead of relying on word of mouth from strangers on social media, then perhaps many problems could be solved. But one of the oldest constants in human history regards the most dreaded word in the dictionary: taxes. For thousands of years, nobody has been able to crack this topic, so that’s why I, a liberal arts major, am exactly the person to ask the hard questions.
What’s the deal with taxes, anyway? We all work hard for our money. Look at the many incredible articles in this issue, such as Carlos Fuentes’ one on holiday gifts—and in my unbiased opinion—the article about saving money as a student. That’s why it is such a shame when we must take time out of our busy lives to file taxes when we should be shopping.
The government is like a bad friend who you loan money to, but then feel forced to ask for it back. And for those who owe money come tax season, isn’t the stress of finding that money enough? You know they’re good for it, so why do they make you jump through hoops just to get back your own money every year? They work for our own benefit, so the burden should be on them.
However, a bunch of crooks got together and promised that they would con all of us citizens by making the onus on us, instead. H&R Block, more like H&R… Blockheads. We’ve got work, and kids to feed, and movies to stream, we should not be required to pay corporations money to sit in those too-small, plastic chairs as terrible music blares. And it is insane that if you make a mistake they’ll come after you. You might make a small error, and then you’re forced to go through legal hoops. I don’t even know how you get a lawyer, do you just drive around looking for a bus bench ad?
But there is a way to alleviate these problems. The government must maintain free websites to submit your tax records, albeit with a small filing fee. For example, visit www.freetaxusa.com and easily input any information asked. I have no proof, but I’m pretty sure that the people in charge of these tax-filing rackets want it to seem like a scary process, when in fact it’s completely manageable on a quiet afternoon, relaxing in pajamas in the comfort of your own bed.
Additionally, depending on your location, there are always services available with trained representatives to help you file for free if you make it under a certain bracket. Look up the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program near you.
The best day of my life is going to be when that H&R Block across my street finally closes and they take down that silly cutout of a man smiling in such a smug manner. Don’t be scared of taxes, and whether you’re meant to pay or to get money back, you’ll be better off learning for yourself how to file.