Tax day is inevitably a stressful time. A mad dash to find those long-lost W2’s, to study the IRS’ labyrinthine forms and schedules, or a frantic race to the nearest H&R Block in hopes of finding a CPA with an open schedule. It’s certainly a taxing experience (pun intended), but is it also a deadly one?
The two certainties in life – death and taxes – may be more intertwined than Ben Franklin ever imagined: A study found that deadly auto accidents increase on Tax Day.
Driving recklessly racing to the post office to meet the deadline might be one reason. Or it could be that stressing over taxes distracts motorists and contributes to human error, researchers said.
They looked at 30 years of data and found 6,783 traffic-related deaths on Tax Day, or 226 per day. That compares with 213 per day on one day a week before the deadline day and another day a week after.
If Tax Day is deadly this year, just wait until “Taxmageddon.” That’s the term that many Capitol Hill aides are dubbing next April 15th due to a slew of new tax increases that will all go into effect simultaneously.
On December 31st of next year the Bush-era tax rates will uniformly expire, meaning that rates on investment income, estates, and every wage level will shoot upward. The marriage penalty will also roar back to life. The child tax credit will plummet from $1,000 to $500. Twelve billion dollars worth of tax breaks for education expenditures and dependant care costs will disappear. The Social Security payroll tax will jump two percentage points overnight. And finally the Medicare tax hikes tucked deep into Obamacare will sneak into effect.
All told, Taxmageddon will cause an immediate tax hike of $493,922 according to estimates compiled by Curtis Dubay of the Heritage Foundation.
The result of the sudden tax increase could push the economy over a “massive fiscal cliff” warned Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
“Under current law, on Jan. 1, 2013 there’s going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee. “I hope that Congress will look at that and figure out ways to achieve the same long-run fiscal improvement without having it all happen on one date.”
As should be obvious a $500 billion tax bomb is not something to play around with. For once, with the fate of our economy literally on the line Republicans and Democrats can agree that partisan hostage taking should be off the table, right?
Wrong. In fact, Democrats have already been trying to finagle Taxmageddon to their advantage.
“The tax issue, for the first time in decades has filled so Democrats actually have the high ground,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told the Washington Post. According to the Post story, Schumer also said that “Senate Democrats plan to press the advantage in the coming months, staging numerous votes on issues of tax “fairness” and identifying Taxmageddon as the Republicans’ political “Achilles’ heel.”
With the economy still in the doldrums and many families still struggling to get by now is not the time to play chicken with a $500 billion tax hike. But the only way Americans can avoid this crisis is to vote Republican in November. Currently, with Congress split and Democrats in control of the upper chamber, Republicans cannot act unilaterally to ensure taxes remain low.
That means the only way to assuredly avoid Taxmageddon is to vote Republican this year. Your tax bill, your stress level, and as the new study shows, your life, may ultimately depend on it.