The government giveth, and the government taketh away

Garrison Ebie

Like it or not, this is tax season. For those who choose to file their tax forms, maybe they’ll get a refund, maybe not, and maybe they’ll get audited. That’s the best part about doing taxes. It’s always a surprise at the end.

Most students at Kent State should already be familiar with the 1040 EZ, which is the standard form for anyone who is relatively broke most of the time. But even those who have earned zero income in 2009 might still be interested in completing one.

This year’s 1040 EZ form seems to have some included bonus. $400 is available to those eligible who earn less than $75,000 annually, and there’s another bonus in there for people 25-years-old and older. What a deal!

With all this free money floating around that wasn’t even deducted from paychecks in the first place, a very interesting question persists: Why would anyone be so silly as to not file his or her taxes? It’s our duty as loyal taxpayers, after all, to be honest and organized.

This is a sad fact of life, but not everyone gets a refund. Yes, this is tragic, but some Americans with complicated finances wind up owing substantial sums of money to the IRS. Situations like these are when one may choose, wisely or not, to avoid informing the government of their financial situation.

There are those who find themselves in this conundrum and decide to completely forgo filing their taxes. Many reasons persist, and here are just a few.

First off, for those receiving unemployment benefits the entire year, I would recommend running for the hills sometime before April 15th. Not only will your benefits run out soon without quick action in Congress, but you probably owe the IRS a thing or two thanks to the tax included in those lovely checks every month.

Next, have you recently gotten a divorce? Didn’t really go the way you wanted and now you’re left without custody of your only child, your furniture is gone and you walk everywhere because your former spouse got the car? Well, chances are, now that your spouse screwed you over, it’s the government’s turn. My advice? Hide.

Even for those still happily married and with a steady income, many Americans were still foolish enough in 2009 to play Russian Roulette with the food industry and open a restaurant. Given recent trends, there’s about a 50 percent chance that did not go over well. Now, some are left with not only angry employees who have bounced paychecks, but a variety of back taxes that are mostly impossible to keep track of for many first-time business owners. Their best bet now would be the purchase of a one-way bus ticket to Canada.

There’s an almost incalculable number of reasons to owe the IRS substantial sums of money, and in no way can I list them all here. However, I must say that anyone who considered contacting Roni Deutch, famed tax attorney with multiple televised commercial spots every day, should probably spare themselves the headache and just avoid filing their taxes this year. Deutch might be able to save a few paid actors on television, but anyone desperate enough to dial an 800 number when they owe five- to six-digit sums is already screwed. You may fight the law, but the law will win. Uncle Sam has a notorious track record of kicking ass and taking names.

In no way am I advocating tax evasion. That’s against the law. I am simply encouraging those of us who are the worst off this tax season to simply “forget” to file taxes. And who knows, maybe those crooked tax men might just “lose” someone’s financial history in an incredibly unlikely coincidence. It’s worth a try, I suppose.

Garrison Ebie is a senior

electronic media major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].