Income taxes are due today. Many will celebrate because the detailed record-keeping and administrative nightmare is finally over for another year and perhaps they are due a refund. Many cry, fume or protest as they write those checks for taxes due.
We should not confuse tax day for Tax Freedom Day, which was April 13. Tax freedom day, according to the Tax Foundation is the day that we theoretically have earned enough to pay our taxes for 2009. The foundation points out this is still more than we pay for housing, food and clothing combined.
Tax freedom day came 8 days earlier that it did in 2008 due to stimulus cuts. Thank goodness we are now tax free! Whoops, they have another calculation that takes the deficit into account. That one moved back over 3 weeks this year to May 29. Better keep working, you ain't free yet.
I found an interesting blog post from Thomas Frey about the increasing complexity of the tax code and the adverse impact of complexity upon civilizations: The exponential nature of complexity - Why the income tax system will collapse
The tax code is now so complex for individuals and corporations that it is beyond the ability of individuals. So we rely on tax preparation software and professional tax preparers. This puts a further economic burden upon the population. It needn't be so difficult.
Taxes have become the math class that never ends.
This complexity issue manifests itself in many other unnecessary ways. Accounting has grown so complicated that you must be an industry specialist to understand financial statements for a given company. And the accounting profession has introduced subjectivity to financial statements with the current "fair value" accounting rules. It again is too complex for one person to understand. Financial statements are becoming meaningless as a result.
Regulations of all types continue to pour out at the federal, state and local level and offshore its just as bad. No one can stay on top of this.
Complexity is closing in on our freedom from all sides. We all need to be activists to change things.
I've written about complexity in the context of Internet security before (see my previous post and my March 23rd post). You cannot defend something that you cannot understand. At least the Internet and technology is complex by its very nature.
Companies that do a better job of simplifying technology do very well. They improve people's lives and they create wealth for society. Thank you Steve Jobs.