I got stoned and did my taxes

As I got to the charitable giving part, a thought came to me: Maybe one good side effect of taxes is that they force people to confront whether charitable giving and (for the religious among us) tithing really matter to them. Oh no, am I becoming one of those people, the ones who let government incentives dictate their actions? I think so, just a little bit.

Last year we gave one-time donations to various causes, but nothing enormous. While filing taxes this month, we realized the error of our ways, and also that a write-off sounds nice. The day after filing, we set up monthly donations to our church (non-denominational, but Baptist-tinged) and to immigrant and refugee respite centers in the Rio Grande Valley. The government nudge wasn’t the single deciding factor—this is something we’d wanted to do for a long time—but it was the catalyst that brought it front of mind. (Tokes.) Thanks for the reminder, taxes!

As the legal theft droned on (asking about property taxes and mortgages), my stoned mind couldn’t help but marvel at the glorious invention of TurboTax. Our entrepreneurial overlords had created software that makes everyone’s yearly government takings way easier to calculate and complete. Now they have a near-monopoly on digital tax-filing services. Also, what a brilliant business concept: a platform that appeals and caters to almost everyone.