Saturday, August 4, 2012

Taking Advantage of the Tax System

School supplies and peripheral elementary school needs for our twins' 5th grade matriculation can be acquired without paying any tax this weekend.

As a family, we have the means to pay the tax on the items. 

If we elect to shop this weekend, it's fully legal for us not to pay any tax, but is it somehow reprehensible or "wrong" for us to do so? Can we ask---should we ask---the stores to accept our tax offerings regardless?

Whether we shop this weekend or not, we make a practice to purchase supplies for groups collecting them for students'  families who don't have the needed means. If we do maximize the tax-free option, and use some or all of the "savings" to assist others, does that rationalize our behavior---ends justifying the means---or are we "cheating" the system regardless?

If Double Daddy or I were to run for office 10 years from now (please don't worry, we won't), would there be mandated records to provide, receipts to reveal, donation documents to share? Should there be?

Thoughtful, non-argumentative comments and insights welcome.

[*Extra credit if you can express your feelings without using the names Romney and Obama, or the assignations Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal. Please use your non-accusatory words.]
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Goddess in Progress said...

Interesting thoughts on why one might NOT take advantage of the tax-free weekend (I believe my state is doing one next weekend). I totally see where you're coming from.

I don't see it as personally skirting an obligation. Certainly we, too, have the means to pay our taxes and don't seek out ways to avoid doing so. Sure, I'll take whatever straightforward deductions on my yearly taxes that I can (charitable contributions and the like), but I don't shuffle things around or try to play tricks to lower our burden. My grandfather-in-law always said, they can't tax you on money you didn't earn. So be grateful that you have the money you do, and take seriously your responsibility to pay for the goods and services you use.

I'll look on the intended positive side of the tax-free weekend - as a consumer spending stimulus - and enjoy the 5% we'll save on new beds for the kids. Do I think it's a legitimately effective stimulus? No, not really. I don't think the stores see that enormous a benefit, and I think it takes away from money that could be in the state's budget, maybe fixing potholes or paying teachers. But I won't actively avoid the weekend, and will take my little discount on a planned big-ticket purchase.

Good food for thought, Cheryl!

Cheryl Lage said...

Goddess, you get LOTS of extra credit! Thank you so much for your perspective on this...I just really feel somewhat in a quandary about all of the talk, and certainly want to be responsible....and fair.

You know you bring up a really good point as well re: the stores not seeing much many actually take somewhat of a hit by bringing down some key objects' prices to extraordinarily low cost (Circuit City used to call DVDs "loss leaders" selling them at lower than cost) to drive traffic...and then not all buy the items with the profit margin built in.

Just woke up thinking about how easy it is to double standard when things are seemingly to our own "advantage."

Miss you, Goddess, and love your thinking.
(and I will look forward to seeing pictures of some new beds :) )