Republicans Shoot Themselves In The Foot Over Taxes. Again.

If we lived in a better world, Republicans would be driven out of office over putting kids in cages. Sadly, we do not live in such a world–it’s not as if anyone was punished for torture during the Iraq War. That said, what might hurt Republicans is their ongoing efforts to fuck up the tax system. Today’s episode–making withholding income horrible (boldface mine):

The agency plans to release a new W-4 form that better incorporates the changes ushered in by the new tax law so that the amount held back for taxes in each of your paychecks is more accurate.

The agency’s goal: A taxpayer shouldn’t owe or be owed come tax time.

But the changes won’t be simple, says Pete Isberg, head of government affairs at ADP, the payroll and human resources company.

Filling out the new form will be a lot like doing your taxes again.

“It’ll be a much bigger pain,” he says. “The accuracy will be 100 percent, but the ease-of-use will be zero.”

…While the new form hasn’t been released yet, the IRS last summer put out a draft version and instructions seeking feedback from tax preparation companies and payroll firms. Instead of claiming a certain amount of allowances based on exemptions – which have been eliminated – the draft form asked workers to input the annual dollar amounts for:

  • Nonwage income, such as interest and dividends
  • Itemized and other deductions
  • Income tax credits expected for the tax year
  • For employees with multiple jobs, total annual taxable wages for all lower paying jobs in the household

It looked a lot more like the 1040 than a W-4,” Isberg says.

The new form referenced up to 12 other IRS publications to fill it out. It was so complex and different from the previous W-4 form that Ernst & Young worried employees would struggle to fill it out correctly and employers may need to offer training beforehand.

By the way, Ernst & Young is an accounting firm–and they worried it would be difficult for their employees to fill out.

Before touching on the politics of this, this is yet another reminder that having a government of entirely of rich people who don’t live like the rest of us is very, very bad. In my experience, there is a subset of well-to-do people who hate that the government is ‘holding onto their money.’ In days of yore, when various savings account-like things used to pay appreciable interest, there was something to this–not very much, but there’s some sort of principle involved. In an era of essentially zero percent savings interest rates, it’s really kind of silly.

It’s also worth noting that well-to-do people have others who do the fiddly bits for them (in much the same way that the wealthy and rich who use private planes don’t have to experience the joys of TSA at the airport).

At the same time, it also demonstrates that they have no idea how others live. First, a fair number of people use withholding as if they were the old ‘Christmas accounts’ of the pre-credit card age: you would give a department store (or other business) a small amount every week, and come Christmas, you had money to spend. Second, if you don’t have a lot of money–and forty percent of Americans say they would have difficulty meeting a $400 emergency expense–withholding is a critical form of risk aversion. It’s far better to receive a few hundred dollars by accident at the end of the year than to have to pay a few hundred dollars you didn’t think you owed due to a mistake (and as Ernst and Young realizes, mistakes will be made).

That brings us to the politics of this. One might have thought, having fucked up a tax cut by screwing around with the withholding, they would have learned their lesson. STOP LAUGHING! STOP LAUGHING NOW! As best as I can tell, this will kick in right as most normies begin to pay attention to the 2020 campaign season. If Democrats are smart–STOP LAUGHING! STOP LAUGHING NOW!–they could capitalize on this.

Wealthy people (many of them anyway) iz weerd.

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1 Response to Republicans Shoot Themselves In The Foot Over Taxes. Again.

  1. When I was in college I worked at a grocery store that paid every Thursday. Unless there was a holiday during the week that caused payroll to be delayed.

    It was impossible to make the family that owned the store to understand that for many of their employees it was preferable to get paid every Friday instead of every Thursday except a handful of times a year.

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