Taxes are complicated. Last year, the federal tax code stood at 3,951,104 words. The instructions alone for the 1040 form were 206 pages long. People spent an average of 15 hours complying with the 1040 “long” form. It’s no wonder so many people choose not to do their own taxes and outsource the work to tax accountants who are experts at wading through the deep swamp of rules and regulations.
On the other hand, it only takes a few minutes to fill out a March Madness bracket. I probably spent ten minutes on mine this year. Others may spend longer depending on how Beautiful Mind they want to get. Some might just be happy with a 30 second random blitz of team picks. The beauty of the NCAA Final Four is anything can happen. Any team, no matter how good they are, can lose a game on a any given day. All it takes is one loss by the team you picked to win it all, and your bracket is busted.
Taxes also have brackets. However, these brackets are used to determine what percentage of your income you’ll pay to the IRS. Here the tax brackets for 2014:
The culminating event of college basketball coincides perfectly with the tax season. If only there were some way of combining the simplicity and fun of picking the Final Four with the complexity and pain of paying taxes. Well, I think there’s a way to do it. Here’s how it would work:
- Before the tournament begins, fill out your bracket and submit a copy to the IRS, along with your income from last year. How far your picks go in the tournament will determine which tax bracket you end up in.
- Everyone will start off in the 30% tax bracket. If any of your picks advance out of the first round, your tax bracket drops to 25%. Then, if one of your teams makes it past the second round and into the sweet sixteen, your tax bracket goes down to 20%. As the tournament progresses and your teams advance further, your tax bracket will continue to drop. If you’re lucky enough to pick the winner of the whole thing, you’ll end up paying no taxes at all!
- Once the tournament is over, the IRS will send you a bill based on how your bracket did. Just send a check back to them and you’re done! No other deductions, no complicated tax forms to fill out, just one simple March Madness bracket.
It makes total sense to combine the tax brackets with March Madness brackets. This simple system would require no complicated IRS forms, or digging up obscure tax deductions. The tax form would go from 206 pages to one page. It’s the nearly perfect combination of two great American Spring pastimes. The only thing missing is the incorporation of the start of baseball season.
What if the March Madness brackets and tax brackets were merged into one? Could this be the solution to our country’s tax mess?