Friday, April 02, 2010

On Death and Taxes

It is not the first time that I have ranted about american bureaucracy, and by looks of things, it probably won't be the last. Now this week I have spent quite a great deal of time trying to figure out what exactly need I fill in the US tax forms. I always thought that the bureaucracy in Brazil was bad, but it seems that in that respect, my home country is a mere follower of the United States, since taxes here are, by a long shot, much more complicated and byzantine than in Brazil. Not only does one have to deal with the complications of federal taxes, one also has to deal with state income tax, as well as local taxes, in my case, because I'm based in Pittsburgh. The interesting aspect of this system also includes the fact that, unless one wants to do your taxes by hand like the ancients, one must pay for the privilege to calculate one's own tax dues. This all adds up to a lot of stress when it comes to filling one's taxes since the IRS is famed for being ruthless in pursuing people with any suspicion of having made mistakes in the tax forms. At least in Brazil, for all the complications, the government does provide a software to help you do this, and for me, it has never been a completely daunting task, even when I had some (puny) property in the country.

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