American philosopher and famous tax resister, Henry David Thoreau, wrote in his 19th-century journals: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify.” The free-enterprise may have heeded this advice, but not The Swamp.
One of the first principles of business and marketing is simplicity. The simpler, the better. The more complicated, the worse it is for your company. If a product or service is too convoluted, then you risk a higher abandonment rate among your customers or falling sales.
The government takes a different approach. Likely to get their increased budget requests approved and potentially out of contempt for those who pay the bills, the state enjoys making things as complicated as possible. A visit to any government building verifies this suspicion: filling out a C2 sheet that must be attached to a yellow page, but only if the G7 has been signed by a guarantor who matches the criteria on a list approved by a supervisor’s manager’s superior.
Completing your taxes is another chore that is a complicated endeavor, leading you to make a stop at H&R Block or hire an accountant. Not only does the state rob you of the fruits of your labor, but it also gives you a headache when you try to retrieve your stolen property or prove that you have been the victim of theft.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) just found a new way to make your life a living hell.
A Taxing Experience
Later this year, the IRS will modify the way you adjust your paycheck withholdings.
Form W-4, also known as the Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, lets you determine how many withholding allowances to claim – the more you have, the less money will be extracted from your paycheck throughout the year. The new and improved W-4 will be more detailed, asking for specifics such as credits, non-wage earnings (interest and dividends), total household income, and itemized deductions.
The initial assessment from tax preparation companies and payroll firms is that it benefits workers, but the W-4 will be harder to file. The new form references up to 12 other IRS documents to complete, leaving industry experts fearing that employees will struggle to correctly fill it out.
It might feel like you’re doing your taxes all over again, warns Pete Isberg, head of government affairs at ADP.
“It’ll be a much bigger pain. The accuracy will be 100 percent, but the ease-of-use will be zero. It looked a lot more like the 1040 than a W-4,” Isberg said in an interview with USA today.
They also think that many employers will likely need to train workers just to complete the new and improved W-4.
So, after all these years, why the adjustment? The IRS has a new goal as part of the GOP reforms: Never have a taxpayer owe or be owed come April 15, allowing Americans to break-even during tax season.
There is a reason why the penalty-collecting body is called the IRS – it is because everything you earn is theirs.
The tax man has gotten a bit of karma in recent years as tepid budget cuts have shrunk the agency. As a result, the number of audits has plunged, the amount of fraud cases has plummeted, and the smaller workforce means there are fewer bureaucrats to harass you and make your life as hard as a hipster deciding between a soy and a coconut lattes at Starbucks while tweeting “Impeach Drumpf!” For now, however, the IRS has gotten its vengeance by introducing intricate W-4 forms in time for the 2020 tax season.