May 2, 2012

Most taxes hard to decipher

As I write this column, Toby and I just finished calculating our taxes at our preparer's house. It was a bad time to come home and clean out old receipts from the filing cabinet.

I started tearing up old paid bills, such as the cable, and couldn't help but notice how many taxes we pay. On just one cable bill we are charged: Federal Communications Commission administration fee, franchise fees, broadcast TV surcharge, (phone), end user common-line charge, gross receipts tax, federal Universal Service Fund, federal excise tax, regulatory cost fee, telecommunications excise tax, telephone sales tax and County 911 surcharge. Total: $18.06.

As far as I'm concerned, a fee or a surcharge is just another word for "tax." I don't mind paying sales taxes or E911 surcharges, but a franchise fee tax of $5.05? I don't own that franchise, so why should I pay a tax?

How about the cellphone bill? Clinton County, state and local sales tax, Clinton County wireless E911 surcharge, federal Universal Service Fund surcharge-wireless, New York telecommunications excise surcharge, public-safety communication surcharge and regulatory cost recovery charge. Total: $5.23.

How about the light bill? I expect to pay for electricity I use, but some of these charges are confusing: transition charge, New York state assessment, System Benefits and Renewable Portfolio Standard charge, merchant function charge and supply charge. I just don't know how our future generations are going to pay their bills.

The bottled-gas bill: hazmat fee and fuel-recovery fee. I don't deliver the fuel. Why should I have to pay a hazmat fee? Fuel recovery? For whom? Total: $17.45. I just don't know where it stops.

OK, I've got that off my chest. Now on a lighter note about taxes, there have been some rather funny ones in the past.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg World in palm of our hands

    A newsroom workshop made writer Susan Tobias realize how far technology has come since she started working at the Press-Republican.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time