Income-Tax Day Woes - and Joys?
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
It's done! I hit the e-file button sending my 1040 form to the IRS, and I received an e-mail saying it was accepted. Did income-tax day have its woes? Yes. Usually I get a refund. This year I had to add to my estimated payments. But income-tax day joy? Yes, I did feel joy. Here's why:
United States citizens pay fewer taxes by far than most of the 33 economically-developed countries of the world. Only four countries pay less: Ireland, Turkey, Chile, and Mexico. I can't imagine choosing any of them as my homeland!
But there's another reason I felt joy when filing my income tax.
Last night I received a phone call that a beloved niece was in the emergency room, needing immediate and expensive diagnostic tests and expert medical attention. Thank God she is receiving them. When I did the math, I found that $1,512 of my tax payment will go to U.S. health agencies that will help to make sure she and others like her receive the health care they need.
Dear friends of mine are home after serving 50 years with great deprivation on the mission field. They are now living frugally on their social security. Recently he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I did the math: $1,361 of the money I sent to the IRS will help them and other social security recipients.
This week an army veteran came to see me who is suffering badly from PTSD. My quick math says $216 of my tax payment will go to help needy veterans like him.
This week I received a phone call from a desperate woman living in another state. Her husband is threatening to divorce her. She's the mother of five small children and has no family near. I am so very glad I could assure her that the law will protect her, and, if need be, provide food stamps and subsidized housing. That's where $216 of my tax payment will go.
Last night I slept through the night, unmolested by enemies of the USA, because men and women in the armed services kept watch. That security will be paid for, in part, by $875 of my tax dollars.
You might protest that there is great waste in some government programs, that some in high administrative positions and elected officials are lax and venal, that spending 3 trillion dollars each year when we do not have it is financially irresponsible. And I agree. We have an enormous obligation to elect trust-worthy people to every office in this dear country of ours. But that doesn't remove my responsibility to pay my taxes.
Here's what God says:
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. . . .
For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.
Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
Romans 13:1-7 (this was written when Nero was emperor of Roman!)
Yes, income-tax day has its woes and its joys, but mostly joys. Thank God for America!