The trouble with taxes

I'm with James--I think Al Franken made an honest mistake, and that mistake was trusting his accountant not to be an utter fool. It's all very well to say that he should have checked, but tax law is insanely complicated and getting more so every year--most of us don't have time to be a tax attorney and a success in another career.

I would wager that most of the people piling on do not have a great deal of 1099 income earned in a variety of states. It took me basically an entire day to do my taxes this year, and I only had to deal with two, New York and DC. Allocating income between them, calculating the differing deductions for each state, figuring out which business deductions I was entitled to against my freelance income, and which could be applied against my salary . . . hours of fun for the entire family. And the problem is getting worse every year as the tax codes get more and more complicated at the state, federal, and local levels.

Serves you right for doing them yourself, one of you is about to say. Get an accountant.

What, and end up like Al Franken?

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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