Embracing Boredom: New Book for Tax Geeks

Are taxes tedious and boring? Most people probably think so. But there is no better form of tax reliefthan the kind that comes from knowing the law and avoiding tax troubles in the first place. Check out this amusing excerpt from a book review written by Tax Notes writer, Joseph Thorndike:

Every tax professional knows the look — that mixture of pity and dismay when you tell someone what you do for a living. Sometimes it comes with a flash of fear behind the eyes — fear of taxes, sure, and probably fear of the IRS. But also, more profoundly, fear that you might actually talk about your job. God help us.

I can almost hear the chorus of complaints that readers are going to raise. “It’s not that bad! Some people are really interested in taxes!” Right. If it makes you feel better, you go ahead and tell yourself that. And by the way, I’d love to see the slides from your family trip to Yellowstone last year.

If anyone doubts the inherent tedium of taxation, we now have independent confirmation. The late, great literary phenomenon David Foster Wallace singled out taxation as the most boring topic imaginable. In writing his posthumously published novel, The Pale King, Wallace made taxes — and their administration in particular — the epitome of soul-killing tedium. “The whole subject of tax policy and administration is dull. Massively, spectacularly dull,” he writes.

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