Tuesday, July 21

Overpaying Taxes

I'm thinking about paying taxes that by law I don't have to.

Is this a ridiculous idea?

Ever since I read The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, I decided I didn't want to hunt for tax-deductible donations anymore--when & if I donated money, I'd pay 100% attention to my desire to donate to the organization and 0% attention to whether or not I'd get a discount at tax time.

But another part of that book keeps sticking with me--the part about tax-deductibility allowing wealthy people to put a significant chunk of their money into something they like instead of into the general tax pool. The related part about how the general tax pool is far more weighted towards really helping the poor than the donation pool is (the donation pool is far more weighted towards keeping rich people's favorite symphonies, colleges, etc. open).

The book relates the story of a foundation board member who told George Soros, "No--it's our money. You would have had to pay it to everybody in the form of taxes if not for what this foundation allows you to do with it" when Soros said something like, "It's my money, dammit!"

I'm no George Soros.

But what if I donated at my usual rate and paid the general taxes I could legally write off?

Is it similar to or the opposite of refusing to pay part or all of your general income taxes because you disapprove of much of what they fund (war, giveaways to the rich, etc.)?
(And though I haven't ever gotten serious in thoughts about withholding parts of my taxes against the law, how funny would it be to do both?)

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