The last day to file taxes in the United States is rapidly approaching and – as happens every year – millions of Americans have once again waited to the last possible second to do their income taxes. Just why do they do this? Is it laziness, a distaste for complex forms, a reluctance to hand over their money or something else? By the way – if you’re wondering – The Associated Press noted that the last day to file taxes in 2017 is April 18.
Waiting till the Last Day
To file taxes in the United States, you can fill out the forms yourself, use software or hire someone else to do the whole tax thing for you. Given all the available options, there’s not much excuse for waiting to the last day to file taxes with the federal government.
But as reported by CBS, it has become virtually a tradition in the United States – and a bad habit for countless millions – for those tax returns to reach Uncle Sam at the last tick of the clock. There are plenty of reasons not to do this, such as the fact that rushing your tax return might cause you to make mistakes or even pay more taxes than you need to.
Natural Born Procrastinators
One of the primary reasons that people wait to the last day to file taxes is that some of us by nature are procrastinators. To these people, you should always put off till tomorrow what you could do today on the off chance that the world will come to an end and you won’t have to do it at all.
Of course, what this means is that – when the world stubbornly refuses to come to an end prior to the last day to file taxes – people are forced to rifle through receipts, tinker with blinky calculators and pray they’ll dodge an audit. On the other hand, perhaps these people are also adrenaline junkies and live off fear.
Taxes Are Complicated
It’s hard to find anyone who actually enjoys filling out a form, but dealing with tax forms and their tax regulations, taxable income, deductions, exemptions, itemization and withholding is almost enough to make you wish you had no income so you didn’t have to pay taxes.
Even worse, if you wait to the last day to pay taxes and are forced to turn to a professional tax preparer, you’re essentially putting your life and livelihood in their hands in the desperate hope that they actually know what they’re doing – since you clearly don’t. And trusting strangers is no fun.
People like Their Money
Waiting to the last day to file taxes is also a bit of nostalgia. After all, the founders of this country decided to have a revolution largely because they objected to tea taxes, sales taxes, stamp taxes and taxes in general. And these days, the slogan has changed from “no taxation without representation” to no taxation at all.
In short, people like their money and don’t like giving it to the government. Yes, in the end – unless we have a clever accountant and some obscure investments outside of the country – we all have to pay our taxes. But waiting to the last day to file taxes at least gives us the satisfaction of knowing we didn’t give the federal government our money one second earlier than we had to.
Ironically though, the same people who wait to the last day to file taxes would probably object strenuously if any of the tax funded services they themselves use – from federal highways to national parks – were no longer available to them because people stopped paying taxes entirely. Shameful hypocrisy – or just human nature?
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]