Why Can’t We Just Make Taxes Simpler to Do?

It’s safe to say that most Americans want a simpler way to file their tax returns. It’s a sentiment that we all hear around the country. But the reality of how complicated many people’s lives are make the prospect of a simpler tax return almost impossible.

The tax code will always stay complicated because it incentives certain “trying, positive societal behavior.” Namely, going to college or a trade school, buying a home, running a business that employs people, having a family while working. And many others.

Yes, there is abuse and there is a need to fix a lot of our tax code. However, lets think about this scenario. If I sit in my relatives garage playing video games (not as a job) all day and contribute nothing to society, should I get the same treatment as someone who is “trying?” Going to school, struggling with daycare, etc.

That’s why the tax code will always be complicated in a nation of 320 million people.

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How Do I Figure Out My Career Passion?

 

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Every so often, I’ll meet with a client looking to do something else with their life. Something more than their regular job.

The first and most important thing I’ll ask is, “what are you passionate about?” It’s a question that’s developed after having worked with many people over my career. Both business owners and employees.

If they aren’t sure what they’re passionate about I’ll ask two more questions. The first, what would they do for free? The second, what are they working on late at night because they love it?

I’ll even have a possible third question. That question, if someone gave you $10 million on the one condition that you got up and went to work every day, what would that work be.

Once they’ve honestly answered those questions, they’ve created a new potential path for themselves. It’s up to them on whether or not to follow it. But at least now they know what that passion is.

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Bill & Hillary Clinton’s 2015 Full Tax Return

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Bill & Hillary Clinton’s 2015 Full Tax Return:

2015 Tax Return

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Vice President Joe & Jill Biden’s Full Tax Returns for 2015

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Vice President Joe & Jill Biden’s full federal and state tax returns for 2015:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2014_vp_returns_final_4.9.15_redacted.pdf

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The President and First Lady’s Full Tax Return for 2015

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The President and First Lady’s Full Tax Return for 2015

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/images/Blog/Obamas%202015%20Taxes.pdf

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IRS Rules on Deducting Charitable Giving

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Every year people give away billions in money and items to charities. This giving helps people in need. There are tax benefits that can come with that giving. To help provide guidance on that giving, the IRS has guidelines. Here are the guidelines:

Rules for Charitable Contributions of Clothing and Household Items

To be tax-deductible, clothing and household items donated to charity generally must be in good used condition or better. A clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return.

Donors must get a written acknowledgement from the charity for all gifts worth $250 or more that includes, among other things, a description of the items contributed. Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens.

Guidelines for Monetary Donations

To deduct any charitable donation of money, regardless of amount, a taxpayer must have a bank record or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, bank or credit union statements, and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the transaction posting date.

Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2 wage statement or other document furnished by the employer showing the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.

These requirements for the deduction of monetary donations do not change the long-standing requirement that a taxpayer obtain an acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. However, one statement containing all of the required information may meet both requirements.

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Total 2015 Federal Government Spending

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Here is everything for 2015 that the federal government spent on (actual, column 4), with the money they took out every one of your paychecks:

https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Documents/Outlays%20By%20Agency.pdf

 

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