15 April 2007

Chess Taxes

Today is Sunday. Even though it's 15 April, I know it's not tax day, but when are U.S. tax returns due? I have a copy of 'Forms and Instructions for Overseas Filers', which must have at least 200 pages and no Table of Contents. F&IOF starts, 'Dear Taxpayer, Paying taxes is a unifying experience fundamental to democracy and the rule of law'. Yeah, right.

It's a 'unifying experience' because misery loves company. Fundamental to democracy? Taxes were invented long before democracy and are present in the worst totalitarian states. Fundamental to the rule of law? Only because the lawmakers demand payment for creating new taxes.

Enough grousing. I see on page 12 of the big 81-page document -- it has no name, just page numbers -- in the middle of F&IOF that form 1040 must be filed by 16 April, unless I live in Maine, Maryland, etc. etc. The whole tax code is riddled with exceptions; even the filing date has exceptions. I've filed tax returns in Denmark, Germany, Belgium, France, and the USA, where 'God shed His grace on thee'.

God's grace starts with the most complicated tax system in the world. I wouldn't be surprised if it's more complicated than all of the other tax systems in the world put together. Moreover, it's one of the few tax systems that hounds its citizens wherever they happen to live in the world. There is no escape.

Americans, heed my words: when your politicians start talking about 'simplifying the tax code', vote them out of office. It is a code phrase that means they want to create more exceptions.

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Here's a chess related search I've never tried before: Results 1 - 10 of about 1,110,000 for chess taxes. The first entry, no.1 in the list, is...

Chess Camps
http://chess.about.com/library/weekly/aa05a22.htm

...Hey, that's something I wrote! It turns out the trigger phrase is 'Learning chess taxes the mind. Since "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", what other activities are offered [at the camp]?' Chess taxes! That's like the classic phrase in artificial intelligence: 'Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.'

If my page is no.1 on such an important Google search, maybe taxes aren't so bad after all. The second entry in the Google search is from the Boylston Chess Club Weblog: May 2006 and goes 'Singing star accused of evading Chess taxes'. What's that all about? Why is a singer paying chess taxes? It turns out that ABBA singer Bjorn Ulvaeus was 'accused of a scheme to avoid paying taxes' from revenue he earned on the musical Chess. Taxes on chess, they're here. People go to jail for not paying them.

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Back to the real world. What's next? 'Enter the amount from line 7 above on line 1 of [this worksheet] or [that worksheet] if you use either of those worksheets to figure the tax on line 8 above. Complete the rest of either of those worksheets according to the worksheet's instructions. Then complete lines 9 and 10 above...'

1 comment:

DG said...

In a couple of weeks, I suspect that this post will be top of the list when you search for "chess taxes."