There are tons of “funny tax quotes,” that ping around across the internet around tax season. Most of them are bull crap, devoid of context and are little more than political grifting wrapped with a bow of humor.
I’m looking at you, Ron Paul and Ronald Reagan...
I’m tired of these quotes that get attention simply because they sound witty.
So instead of the typical “1,000,001 Hilarious Quotes about Taxes and Why Taxes Suck!” I’ve distilled them all into only the truly insightful quotes about taxes I’ve found over the years. I've expanded on each with my own thoughts on why I think the quotes have actual value.
So yeah, enjoy!
#1 Morgan Stanley Advertisement
You must pay taxes. But there’s no law that says you gotta leave a tip.
Morgan Stanley advertisement
My political opinions, particularly on taxes, have shifted over the years.
This is actually a point of pride. I think the odds of landing on the right beliefs from day one are pretty slim, right?
First, I felt taxation was mostly theft.
Then I went to college and ventured away from my right wing political bubble and began to feel that the super rich were the real villains.
Then, I switched my major to economics, and I realized it was all much deeper than that. It wasn't a "good vs. evil" situation like we're taught to look for thanks to Disney movies.
“TaXuz ‘r bAd!” Or “eAT tHe RicH!” proved to be wishful oversimplifications for a confusing topic that most of us are too intimidated to dive into too deeply.
It became clear that no one (myself included) wanted to really spend time on understanding why our tax system is how it is, how to improve it or how to work it to its maximum benefit.
So here I am in 2022. A social liberal but financially moderate. Life is confusing, man...
I realize now that paying taxes will always stink, but that doesn't make them bad. Neither does wanting to minimize how much we pay.
Taxes are necessary for a developed society (that's debatable, I suppose, find someone in the comments who will take you up on that if you'd like).
The system is far from perfect and there are a lot of issues BUT it’s all far more complex than I had wanted to realize.
The tax code is written in a way that allows us to dramatically lower our tax liability legally and it’s not wrong to do so. It’s dumb not to. We have no obligation to overpay our taxes and shouldn’t feel guilty for trying as hard as possible to pay the least amount legally allowed.
#2 Alfred E. Neuman
Today, it takes more brains and effort to make out the income-tax form than it does to make the income
Alfred E. Neuman
As someone who makes money through his online businesses, I 100% agree with this sentiment.
I’ve always been frustrated with taxes because I knew I was overpaying.
However, I also felt like it would be a full-time job to learn and apply all the tax saving tactics.
This was AFTER receiving a degree in economics and understanding accounting well enough that I was hired on to the accounting team at NCR (a job I turned down in favor of a yarn mill management position that seemed less… nerdy).
Once you have money, hire experts to help you grow it and keep as much of it as legally possible.
There are reason accountants and financial advisors exist and their work isn’t some type of side hustle. It’s a full-time job, and it's ok that we don't know as much as they do about it.
If you can afford it, let them handle it. Even if you’re smart, tax laws change rapidly. Someone else has dedicated their lives to staying in touch with these things. Pay them. It has a massive ROI.
#3 Russell B. Long
A tax loophole is something that benefits the other guy. If it benefits you, it is tax reform.
Russell B. Long
This goes back to my earlier point of thinking everyone who pays little on taxes is cheating the system.
If they’re doing it legally, it’s because congress has set them up to do so because it provides some benefit that they see as important.
Which ties in nicely to the next quote.
#4 Milton Friedman
If you want more of something, subsidize it.
This quote might not seem tax related, but it explains exactly why there are so many tax breaks and deductions. The government wants more of something, so they subsidize it in the form of tax deductions or credits.
Investing in real estate helps create affordable housing.
Investing in businesses helps create more jobs.
Investing in renewable energy helps with conservation efforts.
Just because someone else is playing the game and we aren’t doesn’t make it a loophole.
#5 Robert Kiyosaki
Taxes are your largest single expense.
We need to not look as taxes as something out of our control; they are just too impactful.
My approach was to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich (side note, ostriches don’t actually do this, apparently, but I am not letting go of the saying). Instead, I need to view them as a massive expense that I can work to minimize without breaking the law.
#6 Judge Learned Hand
Anyone may so arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes.
Judge Learned Hand
It’s not our job to overpay the government. No matter how you lean politically, it is not your duty to fun the government beyond what you legally have to pay them. That is the entire point of the tax system. Not following it and allowing yourself to overpay because you feel guilty is not in line with why the system exists to begin with.
#7 Margaret Thatcher
No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions-he had money, too.
Can you tell I’ve been battling with tax guilt? The inner turmoil from wanting to pay less but feeling it might take from helping those who have much less?
Well, keeping our money doesn’t mean we’re hoarding it or spending it frivolously. By retaining more of our wealth, we get to decide how it’s allocated. We can donate it to the charities and causes that we care for. There is no shame in wanting to decide how your money helps others and minimizing our tax liabilities helps us control where it goes.