I thought about writing a blog post about the history of taxation (with and without representation) in America, how the Internal Revenue Service came to be, and so on. Then I realized I would doze off while doing the research AND lose you, dear reader, along the way.
Why does a blog post on Tax Day have to be a dull thing? Why should I make you feel even worse than you already do about filing your 2013 state and federal income tax returns?
To hell with Google Alerts, Google Trends, what’s trending on Twitter, and my business’s long-tail keyword phrases for today. If you’re not properly entertained by the end of this post, I’ll happily transform the yellow copies of all your W-2s or 1099s into origami…
“Nothing Is Certain but Death and Taxes” (Or Something Like That): Since the 1700s, this phrase has been used by authors and others as a quotable quote regarding what we all can count on in life. The first documented appearance of this truism was allegedly penned by Daniel Defoe in his 1726 tome, The Political History of the Devil: “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed.”
The more current form of this saying is attributed to Benjamin Franklin via a letter he wrote to Jean-Baptiste Leroy (in 1789). It surfaced again in dear old Ben’s The Works of Benjamin Franklin: “…but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
My favorite version of this inevitability spews out from the mouth of literature’s most tempestuous southern belle, Scarlett O’Hara: “Death and taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them!” Amen to that, my Gone with the Wind sister…
When the Beatles Sang About the Taxman, They Weren’t Joking: This song off the marvelous Revolver album (1966) was written by George Harrison as a musical mocking of Britain’s super-tax system. According to The Beatles Anthology, George discovered that he and the other Beatles were each handing over 19 shillings and sixpence (i.e., 95%–sometimes up to 98%) of every pound they earned to the British Treasury.
I think these lyrics from Taxman are quite shrewd:
“If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street / If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat / If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat / If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.”
Many British rock stars fled their native country for the less taxing shores of the United States (and other countries) during the super-tax years. Some of the more notable tax exiles of the early 1970s: Bad Company, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones (Exile on Main St.), Cat Stevens (Foreigner), Rod Stewart (Atlantic Crossing), and Jethro Tull.
“Death and Taxes” Is Also an Online Magazine: I share this revelation with you via my initial Google search on “death and taxes.” Here is the 4-1-1, straight from the magazine’s website:
“For lovers of music, media and internet news, Death and Taxes produces some of the best-loved social content on the web, recognized by fans and critics alike for our biting wit and authoritative stance on all things hip and emerging.”
The editorial offices of Death and Taxes Media, LLC, are located in New York City. To send article tips to the editorial staff or ask a general question, follow the instructions on the Contact page. For the truly curious, scan the company’s media kit!
Drown Your Financial Troubles at the “Death and Taxes” Bar: Looking to do some serious drinking the next time you travel around the great state of Nevada? The town in which to wet your whistle is not necessarily Las Vegas but Reno. (Yes, that Reno: quickie divorce courts and gambling parlors galore.)
One alcohol-infused destination is Death and Taxes, an eclectic bar located in midtown Reno at 26 Cheney Street. The bartenders at this establishment are known for their wizardry with exotic distilled spirits and cleverly named cocktails. Be sure to visit the Death and Taxes Facebook page and consider bestowing a dollop of online love by liking it. Tell them By All Writes sent you…
Income Tax Evasion–It’s Mostly for the Rich and Infamous: Let’s start with the scofflaw who should have been locked up for a Skittles-like rainbow of gambling, prostitution, and murder charges. In the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, he’s still a rising comet of crime; in real life, Chicago gangster Alphonse Gabriel Capone (you can call him Al) served hard time for garden-variety tax evasion.
We now shift to the golden pastures of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Some of those accused (and some convicted) of using shady offshore accounts, filing false tax returns, or hiding large amounts of taxable income include: Wesley Snipes, Nicolas Cage, Sinbad, Dionne Warwick, and Willie Nelson.
The dark(er) side of the tax-dodger force features names like Pete Rose, O.J. Simpson, and unforgettably nasty hotelier Leona Helmsley (fondly remembered as “The Queen of Mean”). Here’s the best compilation of the online articles I sourced regarding our famous tax-allergic friends…
There, don’t you feel better now? What other taxing issues should I have included in this post? If you already filed your income tax returns or intend to do so before midnight tonight, good for you. If you need more time, contact your accountant or other financial professional to get the 4-1-1 regarding how to request an extension. May April 16th be a tax-free day for you all!
(For those of you pondering my “Odds and Sods” mention in the post’s title, please visit this website for a clue, unless you’ve already deciphered my obscure reference.)
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or email By All Writes LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation project quote today!