Take My Income – Gimme the Tax

The Oweds of March

By Arthur “Bugs” Baer

Today’s the old reliable Income Tax Day when you have to shell out like a self-bailing bean pod.

A man can be sober, reliable and honest 364 days in the year and still not know what to do with the extra day in February.

This is the day the corners on the Square Johns get a little rounded.

It’s tough when March the Fifteenth falls on a Wednesday and both of them fall on the taxpayer.

Honest Abe Lincoln never made out an income tax. And you notice he hurried through with his birthday a month ago.

Here’s the way I mail my income tax blank during the dark of the moon.

I flank the Town Hall in a turning movement, bypass the fire-house, wear blinkers going by the statue of Daniel Webster, sneak up on an isolated mail-box, drop a mysterious letter into the chute and then fan the letter-box for five minutes with my hat.

If no smoke comes out I know that truth and the right have again conquered throughout the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof. If sparks emerge I rush home and turn the clock back to 1912 for an alibi.

The only thing that bothers me this year is the money. They have added a Forgiveness Tax that is meaner than a porcupine with his underwear on backward.

That Forgiveness Tax forgiveth not my transgressions, my bad bookkeeping, my poor memory nor my elastic chicanery. Nossir, that Forgiveness Tax sinketh me with all on board.

That Forgiveness Tax is a deadly torpedo in the form of a bon-bon.

When it comes to me sinning and the government forgiving I would like to have it twice as versa. Let me do the forgiving next time.

However, I guess I’ll get by all right. I have a date with a loan corporation at noon for a transfusion.

(c 1944, King Features)

Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona) Mar 17, 1944

*****

From the Tax History Project: [excerpt]

World War II brought two major changes to the federal tax system. First, it dramatically expanded the individual income tax, boosting the number of taxpayers sevenfold in just six years. Second, it introduced wage withholding to help new taxpayers meet their obligations.

….

Before 1943, taxpayers were expected to save enough money over the course of the year to pay their tax liability when it came due early in the next calendar year. Had pay-as-you-go withholding been simply superimposed on that system, then taxpayers would have been making payments on their current liability while simultaneously paying the tax bill for the previous year. For many taxpayers, that was impossible, especially given the steep annual increase in tax rates during the war.

The Lowell Sun (Lowell, Massachusetts) Mar 12, 1945

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