Why Texas is the best state ever

No state income tax

It’s great – I love Texas for the simple fact that there is no state income tax. Being a grown-up sucks sometimes. Texas makes that easier.

Outside of tax simplification, here are other reasons that I can think of for Texas’s dominance:

  • Everything is bigger here
  • Generally good-looking women
  • Mexican food
  • Economy
  • Mike Jones
  • Weather

The main point of this post is to bitch about taxes (and government indirectly). If you’re in the mood for first world problems, please continue reading…

Rant

taxes

Every time I file my taxes, I want to punch Uncle Sam in the face. That is putting it pretty lightly, too.

I just wrapped up the rage session of filing my taxes for 2012. This year my amount owed almost doubled from last year. According to my preliminary calculations, I owe an amount which is equal to a whopping 1.5% of my annual salary. What?? I don’t get a return… I owe money. Uncle Sam, I thought we were buddies…?

Yes, I am going to check my calculations at some point. But I need to let my blood stop boiling first. Maybe that 1.5% number seems small?

Come on Brett… You just have to pay a small percentage of your annual salary to the government. They do so much for you, so I’m sure you can manage to give this small amount.

Let’s put that 1.5% into perspective: I get paid bimonthly, (basically) max out my investment options, and withhold the recommended amount for my salary. Those three factors combined mean that 1.5% of my annual salary is equal to roughly half of a paycheck. For me, that equates to about two months of rent and utilities.

More rant

OK, so I paid a decent amount of money throughout the year and now I have to pay a large lump sum of money. I can get over that I guess. But the least Uncle Sam could do is provide some lubricant. I mean, really… Who has ever used TurboTax? They draw you in with the simple wizard-like interface and importation of your W-2.

Don’t worry, we’re TurboTax. We’ll make sure that you get screwed out of the most money possible. And please pay us for helping you pay your good pal Uncle Sam.

One minute, you are flying through your tax “return”. The next minute, TurboTax asks you for line 48b of form 14918394ASFN-LAH from 3 years ago. No problem, I’ve got that in my back pocket…

Sarcasm aside, I realize that TurboTax is a great tool that is making the most of a bad (read, dog shit) situation. How did filing taxes become so complicated? I consider myself to be at least of average intelligence and filing taxes is still really confusing to me. And I have a very simple situation (single, no property, etc.) as far as filing taxes is concerned. That is a problem, America. Can we really expect the general population to file their taxes without help? Nope.

Enter IRS. I don’t even want to touch that…

Fix it

To be honest, I didn’t start writing this to share solutions… I just wanted to cry a little bit.

But low and behold: FairTax! Here are some highlights outside of simplifying the complex, broken tax system:

  • Keep your entire paycheck
  • Everyone pays fair share
  • Pay tax only on what you spend
  • IRS no longer needed

In my opinion, this is something that Democrats and Republicans could back. Everyone has to pay taxes. And I don’t think anyone is happy whilst doing so:

taxes

Posted in Personal Tagged with: , , ,
6 comments on “Why Texas is the best state ever
  1. Danny says:

    Aaaaahhh!! A rant that is close to my heart. Yes there are parts of being a grown-up that are less than desirable. And clearly forking out your hard earned cash to Uncle Sam is one of those instances. Assuredly, the fact that Texas has no state income tax is fantastic. Only a small handful of other states that enjoy that status with us. Your other Texas plusses are good as well. But back to the rant…..

    Your disgust is just beginning, especially if we continue using the same pile of antiquated tax code for years to come. The only things that seem to be changing year after year are the steady elimination of things which you can write-off to hopefully reduce your tax liability. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse – welcome to the AMT, the Alternative Minimum Tax. Now you are talking about a whole other level of disgust. I was lucky enough to be sucked into that scenario about 3-4 years ago. And once in it…you are pretty much stuck. Write-offs are reduced even further. Bottom line – you will pay even more.

    You are like me with your money. You work too hard to give it away frivolously. And essentially that is what you are doing with a large portion of your money when you give it to the Federal Government. Collectively – the most incredibly wasteful and unconcerned group of people you can imagine. Yes, there are some that mean well. But by and large they are looking to help themselves more than their constituency. They learn to game the system after staying in office for too long. (Can we talk term limits for everyone?) Then they milk it (i.e. you, me and others) for all they can.

    You are starting to get a taste of why I am so disgusted about all the free handouts the government gives to people who aren’t willing to do a damn thing except wait for their next handout at your expense. Notice I said “willing”. Clearly there are some who are in a difficult situation and can not help themselves for periods of time. But it is those who are capable but just want the free ride that yank my chain. And again too many of them have figured out how to game the system and continue doing so. And the government gives them no incentive to change their situation (er….attitude) so why should they? Let’s just keep on giving them more and more of the money from those who are responsible and contributing to society. Disgusting.

    Remember all of this the next time you are making choices at the polls. Pay attention to details and maybe….. maybe……someday all of this will change. Until then break out the checkbook. Sorry to say but it never gets any easier to write that check.

    PS…Let me know if you want help with your tax return. I’m happy to help….but not with the check writing part. :-)

    • brhlavinka says:

      We will be scheduling some time soon to review my attempt at filing my “return”. I agree with a lot of the things you’re saying here. Unfortunately I think it will take something violent and drastic to make any lasting changes.

  2. rosswright says:

    Um, 1.5% is not so low for how much you owe with your 1040 filing on line 76… but it is outrageously low for how much you paid overall. For reference, my total tax was 14.6% of my AGI – and I have a very clever CPA I pay a lot of money to minimize that number. In the past it has been 15-25%, but 1.5%… no. I don’t want to stress you out, but get out your 1040 and look at line 61 on page 2 – that’s your total federal income tax. That does not even count FICA (add Medicare and Social Security off your W2s for that) or what your employer paid that may have otherwise gone to you: the Texas Workforce Commission, Federal Unemployment Tax or employer FICA which is equal to yours now.

    • brhlavinka says:

      To clarify, the 1.5% was how much I owed after filing the 1040. Haven’t calculated the overall percentage, but I know it is very close to my bracket (~25%?).

  3. I want to see an update on this now that you’ve lived in California for a while.

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