Let's Move Tax Day and Voting Day Closer Together
If you pay your income taxes next Monday, April 16, it will have been 160 days since you last voted on November 7, 2006 (see the graph above), and it will be 204 days until you vote again on November 6, 2007.
The day we pay taxes in April is about as far away from the day we vote for politicians as possible. It's been more than 5 months since the last voting day, and more than six months before the next election, and November is probably the time of the year that we are least likely to be thinking about April 15 and taxes.
1. Let's abolish withholding taxes, and require all taxpayers to write a check once a year for their entire tax liability, like taxpayers did from 1913 to WWII (or make monthly or quarterly tax payments). For someone with $100,000 of adjusted gross income that would mean writing a check to the IRS of about $17,400, and probably another $3,000 or so to the state treasury, depending on the state you live in. This would not only relieve companies and organizations of the costly burden of tax collection for the government, but would significantly increase our "tax awareness."
Here is an exercise about your tax awareness: What is your monthly car or cell phone payment? What is your monthly mortgage or rent payment? Most people know these amounts immediately, because most of us write a check for those expenses. Now, what is your monthly tax liability for federal income taxes, and what is the amount of state income taxes you pay monthly? Most of us have no idea what our tax liabilities are, because we don't write monthly checks for federal and state taxes, employers withhold those taxes and make payments on our behalf.
2. Next we should move Voting Day and Tax Day much closer together, like the same week or same month. We could move Voting Day to mid-April right after we pay taxes, or we could move Tax Day to early November right before we vote.
Having greater tax awareness and voting closer to the day we pay taxes might influence our voting behavior?