“In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin
True. But I can say, as a tax accountant, there is one other certainty near and dear to my heart: the end of tax season. Even though individual returns are due today, I still have a few days left of my corporate tax
torture work. I’ve been looking forward to this week since the first week in January, so to celebrate, I want to share some fun facts about taxes with you (yes, I said the words “fun” and “taxes” in the same sentence):
1. In 2009, the IRS received 131,543,000 individual tax returns (source). If one person processed one return per minute, it would take that person 250 years to process that many returns. Now THAT’S what I call over-time.
2. There are over 7 million words in the tax code and regulations. That’s more words than the Gettysburg’s Address, the Declaration of Independence and the Holy Bible combined (269 +1,337 + 773,000). Anyone want to double-check my count?
3. Celebrities might make a lot of money, but they are often caught trying to hide it from Uncle Sam. Below are some of the most famous celebrity tax troubles (along with the bill received from the IRS):
– Ozzy Osbourne – $1.72 million
– Martin Scorsese – $2.85 million
– Marc Anthony – once in 2007 for $2.5 million, and again in 2010 for $1.8 million (some people don’t learn the first time)
– Sinbad – over $8 million (wowza!!)
– Willie Nelson – $16.7 million (In order to pay this ENORMOUS tax debt, Willie released an album called The IRS Tapes: Who Will Buy My Memories?, with all proceeds going directly to the IRS. Fans bought enough of this album to get Willie out of this debt in less than three years.)
4. Are tax accountants smarter than Albert Einstein? He sure thinks so: one of the smartest men who ever lived once said “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” (source)
5. Before 1897, there was no SSN requirement for dependants. All you needed was a name, so many people claimed pets, other people’s children or fictional children as dependants. Someone in the IRS knew what they were doing: after the SSN requirement was enacted in 1987, 7 million dependants vanished from tax returns.
And lastly, I have two requests:
1. Please remember to file your taxes today!
2. Most importantly, please give your favorite tax accountant(s) a text, call or hug today. We’ll need it!