What People Don't Get About My Job: The Tax Man

"You are the middle class! I'm helping you!"

Is there a more beguiled individual than the taxman? I have the job to be in between you and the most intimate part of your life: your money.  With a tax code that can stretch around the world three times, can anyone really be 100% certain they are in compliance when they get a letter from me? With the populous anti-tax fervor among the nation, now more than ever my job has become one of ridicule and despise. 

What people don't understand about my job is that chances are you are not the person I'm examining. I examine doctors who expense 3 Cadillacs, insurance brokers who claim jet skis for business use only, and real estate agents who haven't paid taxes in 8 years. The public doesn't realize that tax auditors are the only people between a balanced effective tax rate among all social classes and the bourgeoisie stealing what isn't bolted down. Don't kid yourself; these people are stealing from you. This money helps pay for schools, roads and with any luck can keep mortgage interest deduction alive for a few more years. I read a report today on NPR that Italy has 40% of its population evading taxes. Imagine our debt crisis if we had the same problem. (Our tax evasion rate is estimated between 8-18%).

So if you're one of those "Joe the Plumber" people who take time out of work to throw teabags at me on my way into the office in the morning, you are the middle class! I'm helping you!

We're asking readers to tell us what the public doesn't understand or appreciate about their jobs. Learn about the project here.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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