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For 2012's U.S. tax season ...

Displaying poll results.
I've filed the paperwork and sent money
  615 votes / 3%
I've yet to file the paperwork, will be sending money
  1853 votes / 10%
Still working on it; not sure which way it will tip
  2416 votes / 13%
I've filed the paperwork, expect a refund
  1768 votes / 10%
I've filed the paperwork, and gotten a refund already
  3663 votes / 20%
Why should I pay taxes to the U.S.?
  7313 votes / 41%
17628 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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For 2012's U.S. tax season ...

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:15PM (#43149805)

    I've filed the paperwork, expecting a rebuttal.

  • by undeadbill (2490070) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:21PM (#43149875)

    Option- Filed, received parking cone in mail stenciled with "It is not yours, it is TheIRS." Included were politely worded instructions on parking cone application with or without use of personal lubricant.

  • by DarthBling (1733038) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:30PM (#43149971)
    I have yet to file, but I've already completed all the form. Just need to double check things one more time. Expecting a refund from both federal and state, as usual.
    • by Meski (774546)
      You've just made me even more grateful for living in Australia. No state tax return to do.
      • by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @12:17AM (#43156247)

        State forms are quite easy.

        Most use data directly from the Federal form, so if you (or your Federal tax preparer) is using software to do the job the state gets done automatically with the federal form.

        The bitch in Ohio is city tax forms. The problem is that most people live and work in different cities. The work city taxes are automatically withheld, but the resident city isn't. And resident cities have complex rules regarding how much credit they'll give you for a work city. More importantly for the computer-savvy-types on Slashdot, many cities have completely different tax laws but very similar names. Bedford and Bedford Heights use the same ZIP code, which confuses computers who decide which city you're in based on postal code. There's a City of Oakwood and two Villages of Oakwood, all of which charge income tax. None of these municipalities uses the same form (Oakwood City and Bedford proper are independent, Bedford Heights and the Oakwood near Cleveland uses the RITA form, the one in Paulding uses CCA).

        Local control is nice, but it is diametrically opposed to the goal of easy paperwork.

  • by davek (18465) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:33PM (#43150017) Homepage Journal

    As of now, 36% say they're not paying taxes to the US. Is that the percentace of non-US readers of slashdot? Or are most readers tax dodgers?

    • Re:tax dodgers (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:49PM (#43150207)

      The poll titled In the 2012 U.S. presidential election [slashdot.org] had 29% votes for "I am not a US voter", and the latest Thanksgiving activity poll [slashdot.org] had 46% voting for "Having a mostly uneventful and ordinary day", so it wouldn't surprise me if ~30-40% of people who regularly vote on /. aren't US citizens.

      • by BenSchuarmer (922752) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @05:06PM (#43152981)
        That's no excuse. The US spends lots of money to defend and/or invade foreign countries. It's time they paid up!
        • by Meski (774546)
          THe loans aren't enough? :^)
        • by Macgrrl (762836)

          Screw you and the horse you rode in on. Everytime the US goes to war, we get dragged in beside them due to the ANZUS treaty, which by the way also provides leverage t allow the RAIA to influence our copyright laws and the US health industry to lobby against our PBS scheme to provide subsidised pharmaceuticals. Let's not start on the various import tariffs we face importing products to your protected markets as an ally.

          We are already paying and then some.

          Yes, I got that you were probably joking, but it's one

      • by Meski (774546)
        taxpayers aren't equal to voters, though.
    • Oblig. reference:

      "This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane."
      With that being said, I'm one of the now-33% not paying taxes to the US. Yet. Until they invade my country. Which would be welcome, as a matter of fact.

  • I have given my info to the accountant, but the paperwork is not prepared yet. I am expecting a refund, though. Of course this means I am not claiming enough exemptions even though I currently claim 13. As far as I am concerned I want to get to the end of the year owing Uncle Sam the maximum amount possible short of having to pay penalties for underwithholding.
    It certainly is admirable though that the government has managed to brainwash people into thinking that they are getting some kind of bonus when the
    • Many people getting money back from taxes are getting *more* money than they paid in due to "refundable" credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. They *do* get some kind of "bonus" in that case. However the ~50% of us who fall into the "eeeeeeevil rich guy" category are the ones giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan for 15 months, or paying a 3% APR penalty if we do not let them get enough principal for that interest-free loan.

      FYI, did my return and owe money. And some of that 3% APR penalty as well.

  • Spitting nails (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swm (171547) * <swmcd@world.std.com> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:55PM (#43150281) Homepage

    There was a time, many years ago, when I filed my own taxes, on paper, using a pencil and a hand calculator. I knew what every number was and how the calculations were done.

    It kept getting more and more complicated and time consuming, until about 10 years ago I finally gave up. Now I plug the numbers into a program and it prints out the forms--correctly, for all I know. Even with a program, it is hugely complex.

    The tax code has to be complex so that there will be places to hide the loopholes for rich people. I don't make enough money to benefit from the loopholes, but I make enough that I have to deal with the complexity. Every year by the time I'm done with it I'm spitting nails.

    • Voting day should be the day after taxes are due. Then things would change.

      • Re:Spitting nails (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @01:19PM (#43150571) Homepage
        I would go one step further voting day should be the day taxes are due. Although given how many people believe that a tax refund is free money from the government instead of the government returning excess money it took from you I doubt either would help much.
    • by Daetrin (576516)
      The complexity isn't a deliberate attempt to hide loopholes. The complexity is a result of competition between the group that wants to make taxes more fair and the group that wants to exploit loopholes.

      The politicians in group A add reasonable exceptions, which is good and all, but does make the tax code more complex. Then the accountants in group B go through the entire tax code and find any loopholes and start using them. Then the politicians in group A say "but that's not what we intended!" and try to
    • I got annoyed by a number of things (1) increasing cost, (2) overly long interview worksheets, and (3) frequent begging popup ads. So I basic went to "smart forms" (Federal Free Fillable File Forms) which do the arithmetic for you. I just fill the the necessary lines and that is all. Arithmetic used to be my greatest enemy in the pre-computer days.
    • by King_TJ (85913)

      Yep! Agreed, and I'm not even one of the people who started out doing my taxes with a pen, paper and calculator. (Well, I may have for my very first return on a 1040EZ form, actually. Can't recall anymore?) But I have used software like TurboTax for many years now, and even with it, it's disturbing how complicated a return has become.

      I think I actually see more special interest "perks" crammed into exemptions on the state returns though? You can get some ridiculously niche and specific tax breaks in there

  • I beat the system!

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @01:18PM (#43150559)

    "I like paying my taxes. With it i buy civilization."

  • by spitzak (4019) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @02:01PM (#43151055) Homepage

    Like many others I am the missing option of not yet filed but expect a refund. I clicked the joke response instead

    • by Kittenman (971447)
      What joke response? I'm not a US citizen so won't be paying US taxes (in that way ... I'm sure the good people in US government get me in some way).

      BTW in a country with a huge national debt, I'm amazed at how little tax the US citizens pay. I was in Atlanta once for work, the locals there told me that they expected to pay about 7%. Goodness me ...
      • The locals gave you the right answer, but to the wrong question..
        The average Federal Tax is around 7%..
        Then there is social security...(roughly 6.5% on average).. also please don't argue you get this money back... you don't... its been misappropriated.
        Then State taxes( mine is 7%)...
        Then local taxes (mine is 1%)..
        Then sales taxes (variable depending on goods/spend)...
        Property Tax (if you own property)
        Bottom line.. when I look at ONLY the taxes I pay to one government entity or another it eclipses
        • by riverat1 (1048260)

          65%! I don't see how anyone in the US could pay 65% of their income in taxes (unless maybe the value of property you own is not commensurate with your income level).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @04:15PM (#43152363)

        I have lived and work in both the US and NZ earning about the same $ income. The tax you pay between the two is about the same - all up about 35%-40% of income by the time you add up all the sales taxes / income tax (country+State) / social security tax.

        You get a lot less for your money in the US .

        • Parent is right. There's also one funny thing if you compare taxes in Finland, which most red-state Americans would call a "damn Communist country", with U.S. taxes. If you do the math on the statistics, the result is that both pay the same sum in PPP dollars. In Finland, the government does all sorts of things: healthcare (average for a developed country but efficient), education (world's best education system according to PISA), proper school lunches at no cost, free tuition at universities + a student be

  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @05:05PM (#43152971) Homepage
    I'm retired and living (mostly) on Social Security. I haven't had enough taxable income to pay taxes in a number of years. In fact, I don't even need to file any more.
  • Not a good time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miltonw (892065) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @05:27PM (#43153253)
    I made less money in 2012 than 2011 but my tax bill went way up. We're totally screwed as a country and our children are doomed.

    Seriously, "Government waste" has become axiomatic, rampant and inevitable, and their only solution to our massive debt is "raise taxes"? We are so doomed.

    No one is responsible. No one can be brought to task for all that is bad, wasteful, stupid and useless in government. No one in government cares and no one outside of government has any power to change it.

    (To those who will bleat "Vote!": I do vote but the only choices likely to be elected are those thoroughly venal politicians who will continue the irresponsible spending. It is built into the election process that those who are committed to significantly and actually cutting the government spending will never get the big donations necessary to win. The big donors give the big bucks to politicians who will turn the federal faucet in their direction -- not turn it off. )
    • by AdamHaun (43173)

      I made less money in 2012 than 2011 but my tax bill went way up.

      How much is "way up"? Are you just getting a W-2, or is this some weird capital gains thing, or what?

      Seriously, "Government waste" has become axiomatic, rampant and inevitable, and their only solution to our massive debt is "raise taxes"?

      You know tax rates are actually pretty low now, right? Here's a link [taxfoundation.org] with inflation-adjusted numbers. Compare 2013 to 2003 -- slight tax cut. Compare 2013 to 2003 -- the thresholds are almost exactly the same, except we now have the 39.6% bracket again at >$400k. 1993 has really progressive brackets -- for married filing jointly, the 28% threshold is ~$58k vs. ~$143k today. In 1983 you'd hit the 40% brack

      • by miltonw (892065)
        Your objections to what I said are not clear. Are you saying that a 17 trillion dollar debt is perfectly fine? Are you saying that it's great that the the rate of increase is increasing? Are you saying that the debt we are passing onto our children is of absolutely no concern?

        Why do you bring up what was happening in 1953 when the national debt was 275 billion dollars?

        Do you truly think that government waste, pork, duplication, mismanagement, corruption and stupidity is OK?

        You brought up a whole lo
        • Re:Not a good time (Score:4, Informative)

          by AdamHaun (43173) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @10:21PM (#43155575) Journal

          Are you saying that a 17 trillion dollar debt is perfectly fine?

          It's not great, but it's not The End Of The World As We Know It. There are always spikes in the debt during major wars and economic crises. We had a higher debt-GDP ratio in World War 2 than we do now.

          Are you saying that it's great that the the rate of increase is increasing?

          First off, it's not. [washingtonpost.com] See Fig. 1-1: The deficit has been declining for the last few years. And while it is currently worse than anything since WW2, if you look at the 1980s you'll see that it's not *that* much worse.

          Secondly, the reason for the current high deficits is high unemployment (fewer people paying taxes). In the short term (~5 years), we need more spending to make up the demand shortfall. Ideally that would have happened in 2009 with a ~$2T stimulus, but unfortunately we didn't get that. In the medium to long term, the deficit is dominated by Medicare and Medicaid costs. The Affordable Care Act will do a lot to lower those. Single-payer could probably do more, but unfortunately we didn't get that either.

          Are you saying that the debt we are passing onto our children is of absolutely no concern?

          It doesn't have to be, if we actually pay it off. Remember, we were running surpluses 15 years ago, and that didn't require massive budget cuts and the end of every safety net. The economy grows exponentially (for now, at least). Inflation is also exponential. The debt is an absolute dollar number, and does not grow on its own. (Bond rates have been dipping into the negative -- people are paying us to loan us money.) A moderate tax increase adds up (just as the Bush tax cuts have). And since taxes are super-duper-low right now, raising them (after the recession is over) is the easiest and least painful fix.

          Why do you bring up what was happening in 1953 when the national debt was 275 billion dollars?

          Which was 60% of GDP at the time. Absolute numbers are misleading. The U.S. has a staggeringly huge economy, so any number that's proportional to it will also be staggeringly huge. Sixty years of exponential growth adds up, so now we talk in trillions instead of billions. For comparison, the median household income at the time was under $5000 [census.gov].

          You brought up a whole lot of extraneous and immaterial "facts" to argue with me. Nothing you said contradicted what I said. The government is out of control and all that's going to happen is more and more and more taxes.

          The point of my response was that this is not, in fact, what is happening. It would take quite a lot of tax increases to get back to what has been normal for the last 60 years, and such tax increases would eliminate the deficit outright. Your statements about the government being "out of control" are vague by necessity, because you don't have trillions of dollars of actual "waste, pork, duplication, mismanagement, corruption, and stupidity" to point to. The spending that gets attention (like the stimulus and healthcare reform) are deficit-*reducing* measures.

          (I'm still curious how you managed to get a huge tax increase, by the way.)

          Our children are doomed -- but that's perfectly OK with you, just look at 1953 and ignore what's going on right now.

          The only thing currently dooming "our children" is global warming. The debt probably isn't even in the top 10. This is good news. You should be happy about it.

          To make my point perfectly clear: The problem isn't "taxes", the problem is DEBT. It's currently $53,112.68 for every man woman and child in the U.S. and it's going to get a lot worse.

          If you want to see a spending cut-based approach to deficit reduction in a

      • by miltonw (892065)
        To make my point perfectly clear: The problem isn't "taxes", the problem is DEBT. It's currently $53,112.68 for every man woman and child in the U.S. and it's going to get a lot worse.
    • by nbauman (624611)

      Seriously, "Government waste" has become axiomatic, rampant and inevitable, and their only solution to our massive debt is "raise taxes"?

      Another solution is "don't start wars" but not enough people listened to that.

  • Fucked up tax code (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @05:42PM (#43153415) Homepage Journal

    My wife and I both work at least 40 hours a week; annually, we bring in about 70K gross. We both take zero exemptions, and both contribute at least an extra $20/mo to taxes. Own a house, no kids.

    I couldn't tell you exactly what we paid in, but it was a fucking lot; still, this year we owe almost $1500 in taxes.

    My sister-in-law hasn't worked in almost 4 years, was on welfare for 3 of them; her husband made about 40K gross last year. They don't own their home or cars, but do have 2 toddlers, and are preggers with a third.

    They paid in maybe $4000, and will be receiving over $8000 back.

    This tax system is seriously fucked up. I used to wonder why hard working (barely) middle class folks like myself get taxed to hell and back, and lazy teet-suckling POS' like my SiL get fucking paid to not work, but it finally dawned on me: It's casino economics.

    See, if the government gave the wife and I double what we paid in, you know what we would do? Either sit on it, or use it to pay bills and fix our home. But the government (or rather, the people who run it) don't want that; they want us to go spendspendspendspend, and "boost the economy" by wasting money on shit we don't need.

    My SiL, on the other hand, will take that $8000 and spend it like it's on fire, buying consumer electronics, jewelry, et. al. manner of shit.

    In case anyone else was wondering, THAT is why the middle class gets shafted by the tax man, and welfare queens get paid to be welfare queens.

    • by DoninIN (115418) <don.middendorf@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:01PM (#43153603) Homepage
      My friend you need to get someone else to do your taxes for you.
      • Who does my taxes is not the problem. The problem is, we make too much money/not enough money for people who own a home and don't have kids. Well, that and the fact that my tax person isn't willing to risk her career or livelihood by lying on a tax form. Uncle Sam is rather harsh on CPAs who get caught fudging numbers, and we don't have access to any Apple-like legal teams...

        Honestly, what I "need" to do if I wanted a refund, would be "have children." Nothing lowers your tax burden like a $3500 Child Tax Cr

        • by DoninIN (115418)
          70K Gross and you're paying that much? Or do you mean 70K Gross each? I do feel your pain. My girlfriend got back about 9K a few years ago while I paid a few hundred dollars. She has three kids, we had essentially the same job. I support help for working families, and the child tax credit isn't all bad in my mind, but it does seem excessive sometimes.
    • by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:54AM (#43156689)

      Wait a second, your sister in law has two kids and a husband who works, and you're calling her a welfare mother?

      Goddam you are an asshole.

      • Wait a second, your sister in law has two kids and a husband who works, and you're calling her a welfare mother?

        Goddam you are an asshole.

        Congratulations, you passed judgement on someone while knowing precisely dick about the situation.

        Welcome to the ranks, brother asshole.

    • by bogjobber (880402) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:35AM (#43156839)
      The refund is dependent on how accurate your witholdings were with regard to your final tax filings. It is not a measure of how much you paid in taxes. If you want to pay less on tax day, withhold more. If you're salaried you should be able to figure out how much taxes you will owe beforehand.

      You do not give specific figures about your taxes and the breakdown of where they come from, so I'll run some estimates based on the info you did give. If you make around 70k household gross that would mean you're taxed at 15% federally for the majority of that income. Simplified and adding 5% for state taxes comes out to 14k. $1500 owed on tax day means you paid in about $12.5K in the year or just over $1000 a month.

      I imagine you probably pay a bit more for property tax as well, although it's impossible to estimate that without knowing where you live. It could be a hundred bucks or it could be several thousand.

      So really you're probably paying around 20% plus whatever for property taxes. That is not a ridiculous amount by any measure. You have a cognitive dissonance that 70K a year is an unremarkable middle class income (which it is, although closer to upper middle class than working class for sure) but somehow the taxes paid on that income are exorbitant. They are certainly not. That is a perfectly reasonable amount to pay.

      You are also seriously deluded if you think someone with a 40K household income is a welfare queen. That's somewhere around the 40th percentile of incomes in the US, ie more or less perfectly average.

      The elitism apparent in your post is disgusting, honestly. You badly need to get some perspective. 70k a year is not "barely" middle class anywhere outside of Malibu or Westchester County. If you're having trouble making ends meet at that income level it comes from your spending habits and sense of entitlement, not from Uncle Sam.
  • I've yet to file the paperwork, but will be getting a refund. I'm just too lazy to tally up my medical deductions.
    • I've yet to file the paperwork, but will be getting a refund. I'm just too lazy to tally up my medical deductions.

      I understand that sentiment. All-or-nothing deductions like medical expenses are a PITA when you find all the receipts, statements, etc., add it all up, and find out you're $200 under the threshold.

  • by godrik (1287354) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:31PM (#43153861)

    I have yet to fill the paper work, will get a refund.

    Tax day is still far away, I can wait one more week :)

  • Why do so many people need to do their taxes at this time of year?

    Can there really be that many people in the US who are using the wrong PAYE tax codes at their jobs, such that they expect their tax bill to be in debit or credit?

    Or are the majority of Americans self-employed?

    • All tax returns are due April 15th, or the first non-holiday weekday after that unless you request an extension. If you have taxable income and a zero balance on your taxes, you're definitely living right, and should go out and buy a lottery ticket NOW! But even then, you wouldn't know that until after you did all the paperwork . . .

  • Paperwork? Wouldn't some slashdotters file electronically? Or use tax software? (i left that option out of my extra list)
    .
    C'mon, wouldn't you expect the slashdot poll on something like this to at least ask:
    u -- I hired someone to do my taxes.
    v -- I've filed my taxes electronically and owed money.
    w -- I've filed my taxes electronically and am due a refund.
    x -- I've filed my taxes electronically, and I'm on of those idiots who paid >250% interest on a refund anticipation loan from my tax filing ser
  • I E-file, you insensitive clod!

    Seriously, though, it gives me peace of mind to get the instant feedback, and getting it all taken care of as soon as my W2s are in order. Federal, State, Local all online.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

 



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