Hate Filing Your Tax Return? Good.

Hate Filing Your Tax Return? Good.

Is there anything good about filing a tax return? For most of us, of course, it's a necessary ritual if we hope to stay on the right side of the law. And it certainly keeps the wheels turning for the federal government.

But is there another, more high-minded value to this annual April unpleasantness? Larry Zelenak, a law professor at Duke and the author of new book on income taxation, thinks the answer is yes.

"If, as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said, 'taxes are what we pay for civilized society,' the filing of Form 1040 draws our attention to our duties as citizens in a way that no other levy, including a national sales tax, could,"
Zelenak wrote Monday in a New York Times op-ed.

In his book,
Learning to Love Form 1040: Two Cheers for the Return-Based Mass Income Tax, Zelenak makes this point even more explicit. Returns force us to confront how much we are actually paying to the federal government every year.

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View Joe Thorndike's opinion in its entirety on the taxanalysts® Blog.

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