It’s Tax Day 2013 – SCN Encourager 4/15/13

Whew! It’s gonna be tough encouraging you today.

But I tried. (Hopefully, you’ll grade me on effort, not results – just like most days!)

At first, I thought I could “engage & inform” you with some fun tax day snippets. Certainly, that’d be a guaranteed laugh riot! Unfortunately, there aren’t any fun tax day snippets out there. Not one.

Kasia Turajczyk, a writer in Poland, put together some facts about our government revenue system in a recent column she titled “Death and Taxes.” (I know some of my headlines are bad, but at least I’ve avoided using one this straightforward…she’s not even trying to be “encouraging.”)

Here’s a portion of what Kasia discovered:

  • Federal income taxes began in 1861 to help cover the costs of the Civil War.
  • The 16th Amendment was passed in 1913. The first U.S. 1040 tax form was created immediately. (Probably by one of our most eager beaver communicator ancestors.)
  • Since the publication of the first U.S. 1040 tax form, more forms followed.
  • Today we now have 1,177 official tax forms. (What were our communicator ancestors thinking?!?)
  • To pay our taxes on time this year, 35% of all Americans used tax preparation software, 31% relied on websites, 28% hired accountants, 1% used a cell phone app, and 5% got out their calculators, paper, and pencils. (Don’t ask.)
  • Tax collections date as far back as ancient Egypt. There’s even a hieroglyphic tablet showing tax collectors beating peasants who didn’t pay their taxes on time.

Finally, success! Thanks to Kasia’s last bullet point, I now feel great about our tax system – and I have the lack of bumps and bruises to prove it.

Plus, Kasia’s article reminded me about the “Web 4.0” Encourager that I wrote last month. I don’t imagine she read it since she lives in Poland and was immersed in her “Death and Taxes” research – but here it is in case you forgot all about it. (I did, too.)

In my splendid March analysis, I described how a presenter at a TED conference summarized the history of communications, from the caveman’s first verbal snorts & gestures, to drawings (now including a scene or two of aggressive tax collecting apparently), and all the way up to his version of what the Web 4.0 will entail.

In my splendid March analysis, however, I pointed out how the presenter glossed over the Web 3.0 entirely. The Web 1.0 offered us one-sided internet information, our current Web. 2.0 offers two-way, back-and-forth internet conversation, and the future Web 4.0 predictably will offer immediate translations of multiple languages for people conducting three-way and many-way conversations.

But the TED presenter jumped over the Web 3.0 and life hasn’t been the same since. We have inquiring minds. We want to know what the Web 3.0 is!

Well, because of Kasia’s article on taxes, her reference to ancient hieroglyphics, and helping me feel good about the advantages of being a 21st Century taxpayer, I remembered last month’s Web 3.0 mystery and cheerfully moved on to investigating it.

The mystery has now been solved and I’ll report what I’ve discovered to you tomorrow. We communicator types do not give up so easily – even on Tax Day 2013.

Tom Page, SCN
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