Working on my taxes this weekend, which is no fun. I’d rather be blogging. Recently read T.R. Reid’s book on taxes, aptly titled: A Fine Mess (affiliate link). If you’ve read any of his previous books, you know he is a pretty expansive thinker, willing to take on super-macro topics. The last book I read was The Healing of America (affiliate link) where Reid analyzes the four different types of health systems you find globally. It reiterates the hard truth that the US does not have a healthcare system, it has a sick-care complex. It’s a patchwork of not-so-intelligent design, mixed with poorly-structured incentives.
Why is tax preparation so time-consuming?
1. Reid notes that the average American making $55K annually, takes 30 hours to gather documents and file their taxes. In the Netherlands, by contrast, an executive making six figures will take 15 minutes.
2. Even the IRS estimates that the opportunity cost for individuals and companies to file their taxes is 14 cents of every dollar collected; if the IRS gets $100, it cost taxpayers $14 of their time to file. They note that if tax-compliance was a stand-alone industry it would employ 3.7 million people.