Charitable contributions. Business expenses. Medical expenses. Mortgage interest.
Yes, it is tax time, time to track down receipts and review our income and expenses for the last year. Actually, to review our lives through the lens of check books and credit card statements. We have a professional prepare our taxes, but he still sends us a 33-page worksheet to fill out.
As usual, I find that I have given less to charity than I thought. As usual, I cannot find all the receipts I need. I resolve, once again, to be more diligent in my filing this year. I have never been a big fan of New-Year's resolutions, but I frequently make (and often break) tax-time resolutions!
None us like to pay taxes, but filing our taxes is, nonetheless, a salutary spiritual discipline. As we review how we made, and spent, our money, we necessarily review our values: To what do we devote our days? To what ends do we invest our wealth, our time, and our energies? How do our finances reflect our verbal confessions of faith?
In yet another way, the annual ritual of filing our taxes is salutary. It is a pledge of allegiance, not simply to the United States of America, but to very idea of "the common good." I stand and raise my Form 1040 in salute to our human community, our interdependence on one another, to the very notion that, like it or not, we are all in this together.