- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Ah, April 15. Today is a day I am proud to be an American. For me, filing my tax return feels patriotic. Since 1913, one of our rights and responsibilities has been paying an income tax. And one of the remarkable aspects of our tax system is that each one of us is responsible for our own compliance. We each report and pay our own taxes. In this way, my country depends on me to fund the common good.
For years my local post office has had a festival atmosphere on tax day. The neighborhood sponsors ‘Tax Blues’ night with a live blues band and hot dogs, etc. Once, there was even a guy giving out free samples of aspirin. The post office itself is open until midnight. Extra postal workers stand outside on the sidewalk and collect returns from people who drive by. And yes, people do literally run up to the door minutes before midnight to get their return postmarked. It is a fun way for the community to share the pleasure/pain of the day.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a blog post about liking to pay taxes. It is simply about feeling good about doing my part.
There is one part of the tax return, however, that I do like. It is the Gifts to Charity section. Charitable giving has a special status under our tax system. Donations to charity are tax deductible for those who itemize. For most people, gifts to charity reduce taxable income. Each year when I pull together my tax documents, I am reminded of the organizations I have supported during the year. This year my old favorites are on the list as well as a few new ones. The tax advantage of giving makes me feel that my dollars go further. Of course, there are as many reasons to support charity as there are people and charities. Each unique individual chooses which organizations to support and at what level. For me, this is another reaffirming part of the system. I can vote with my check book for the causes and organizations that mean the most to me. It looks like I will get a bit of a refund this year and because of this blog post I’m thinking about sending it along to one of my favorite causes.
Here is just a brief commercial: These comments are general in nature and are not tax advice. As with all general tax information and commentary you should determine how these ideas apply to you personally. You may want to discuss them with your tax adviser before taking specific action.
Finally, as side note, I feel terribly patriotic about voting too, but that is a blog post for another day.