For as long as this country has had an Internal Revenue Service, Americans have complained about -- and often sought ways to fix -- what is by most accounts a broken system. But from a "flat tax" to getting rid of the income tax altogether, no proposed remedy to our annual tax-filing woes has quite held the answer. Until now.
Below are several steps aimed at bringing sanity to our taxpaying process. Individually, each of these steps may not seem to mean much, but, taken as a whole, I'm confident they mean even less.
-- Five cents will be deducted from the tax bill of anyone who delivers his or her return to the IRS in a reusable bag.
-- The so-called "death tax" is expanded to also apply to assets of people who are just feeling achy.
-- Children over the age of 6 must declare all quarters and other change pulled out of ears by slightly drunk uncles.
-- One lucky fan gets to file a joint tax return with Justin Bieber.
-- Tax refunds can only be spent in an IRS-owned revolving prize shop like the one they used to have for winners on "Wheel of Fortune."
-- Members of local tea party groups are no longer required to pay taxes but must instead return to the government their neighborhood's sewage system.
-- In addition to cigarette taxes already in place across the country, the IRS can add an additional fee if it deems that your tax forms smell like you were smoking when you filled them out.
-- Bad haircuts are now deductible. (Photo and affidavit from stylist required.)
-- Parents can, of course, still claim children as dependents but now must affix monetary value to each of them.
-- Each American can lie about one item of his or her choosing on tax return.
-- Heidi Montag must pay "F-cup tax." (She should calculate this tax by removing her new F-cups, filling them with solid gold and mailing to the IRS; IRS will take the gold and return her F-cups within 60 days.)
-- Purple-tinted resume paper is no longer deductible as a legitimate job-seeking expense.
-- Receipts and gifts from romantic dates, past and present, with John Tesh must be filed.
-- People in the highest tax bracket are given a rare opportunity to put all of their money in an incinerator so they can pay a lower tax rate and stop complaining about paying too much in taxes.
-- TurboTax must pay the IRS $100,000 for every e-mail it sends me.
-- A new "Check here if you -- or your spouse, if a joint return -- want $3 to go to the Bret Michaels emergency-appendectomy medical-costs fund" box has been added for late filers this year.
-- People must include documentation of every penny they saw on the sidewalk regardless of whether they picked it up. (Please include location and date each penny was spotted to ensure that no penny is counted more than once.)
-- People who purchase the iPad or the iPhone in the tax-filing year must file Form 1276G explaining in no less than 10,000 words how they can't believe they ever lived without it, blah, blah, blah, and then promise to never speak about the iPad/iPhone again.
-- All Americans must provide IRS with proof of subscription to this newspaper.
-- Anybody, regardless of whether employed by the IRS or not, can audit anybody else.
(Mark Bazer is a writer living a few blocks away from Chicago. He also hosts "The Interview Show," a Chicago-based talk show available at The Huffington Post. He can be reached via www.markbazer.com.)
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