Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Taxing Time of Year

It's no secret: April 15th is right around the corner. Doing my taxes this year (yes, they're done!) reminded me that I'm always learning, even when I don't realize it. 

Let me tell you, even with my fairly straightforward tax forms, the grammar of the tax code takes a while to figure out. What counts as a deduction? What are "educational expenses"? What is the difference between earnings and income?

Then comes the dialectic stage: so if my earnings are W dollars, placing me in X bracket, and Y dollars were withheld from my paychecks, I owe Z dollars to the federal government. 

That part of the process is not as much fun. 

As for rhetoric, using my knowledge to, say, help someone else with their taxes, I'm certainly not there yet, but tax preparers and the creators of TurboTax use that skill daily. Some of you parents with older children may have gotten to practice this year. 

Do you talk with your children about tax season? If so, what do you emphasize? 

(Stress is the first word that comes to my mind, followed closely by reform.)

And yet I couldn't help following a link to this educational site from the IRS with a matching game for tax vocabulary (I passed!). It has some great informational links and activities. And this page on International English has a fascinating history of the word "tax" in English.

That's one of the downfalls of loving learning, I suppose; you just can't stop, even on April 15th... 

...because everyday events can be classical opportunities too... 

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