Filing Taxes Is Only Slightly More Preferable Than Prison
In order to have motivation for a task you need to have a clear vision of what you hope to gain from completing it. Even tasks you would rather not do, like working 8 hours every day, you may persist in because you can see that the benefits of your salary, experienced gained and career advances outweigh the downsides. If you internalise your goals, you can put up with gruelling and time-consuming activities like physical exercise.
The problem with tasks like paying taxes and doing homework is that the gain from performing them is obscured and in the case of the former, it is hard to see that there is a benefit at all. And this is only partly to do with ideology – I do indeed resent the fact that I am threatened with being thrown in the brink for not doing it, but I’m sure even die-hard socialists don’t rush to fill out their tax returns as soon as possible with sheer glee at the opportunity to pay their fair share into society.
Is taxation just a payment to be left alone? If only the state would leave us alone. We pay it, and then it feels it has to tell us what we can eat and how we run our businesses. We pay you, and then you tell us what to do? I’m confused here – this is the opposite of how every other service works.
When you pay for an internet service, it is fairly easy to see the link between what you pay and what you get. If you want more data, you pay more. If you are unsatisfied with the service, you cancel your contract and go for another provider. But the gap between what you pay in taxes and what you get from the state is vast. You can be constantly dissatisfied with every service you receive from the government and obediently fill out your tax return regardless.
You can get yourself motivated for homework given the right mindset. With a certain amount of mental training, you can convince yourself that, despite it not giving you the education necessary for your career, a well-written essay may butter up your professor so he gives you a better grade. At the very least, you can accept it on the basis that it is a means to an end. But with paying your taxes, there is no end. There is no deferred prize for your diligence.
The sight of those endless and innumerable tick-boxes, drop-down menus and information forms makes me nauseous. It’s not a lack of motivation, but the opposite of motivation. I am repelled by the mere thought of the task. It is un-motivation.
The only real-world incentive for completing it is that the taxman won’t bother me for a year. Prison is only slightly less desirable than filling out the damned tax form.
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