Mention the “tax season” and most folks think of the weeks leading up to the April 15 deadline for filing one’s federal individual income tax return and paying the associated income tax. Truth be told, given the number of filing and payment obligations imposed upon taxpayers – both personal and business- or investment-related – including the extended filing due dates, one may reasonably assert there is no tax “season,” as such term is commonly understood, because tax obligations run throughout the year.
Reluctantly, I have to admit, when I hear someone refer to the “tax season” I often recall the Christmas holiday and the Bible, generally, which is chock-full of references to all sorts of taxes. In fact, as a child, it was my reading of the Bible that first made me aware of the significant role that taxes have played in the history of humankind.
Let’s start with Genesis. Do you recall the story of Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son, and Rachel’s firstborn? Long story short, after being sold into slavery in Egypt, Joseph eventually interpreted the pharaoh’s disturbing dream of the seven lean cows and the seven fat cows.[i] According to Joseph, the seven fats cows signified years of abundance, while the seven lean cows represented the years of famine that would follow. Joseph advised the pharaoh to collect – i.e., tax – and store the surplus grain during the good years so as to have it available for the bad ones. The rest is history.
Similarly, in Exodus, after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the Lord directed him to introduce the “Temple tax” – half a shekel – payable by each male over twenty years of age, for the maintenance of the “tent of meeting.”[ii]
Fast forward to the Christmas season and the Gospel of Luke:
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”
Can you imagine loading the family donkey (a low-emissions economy model) and traveling with your pregnant spouse to another town (forget about reservations), over roads that were likely not patrolled by the equivalent of state troopers and – perhaps worst of all – without a single McDonald’s in sight, just to pay your taxes?
Stay tuned for our next post, which will examine New York’s Pass-Through Entity Tax in the context of an F reorganization and sale of a target S corporation.
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The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Firm.
[i] Who would have ever thought these animals are, in no small part, responsible – or so we are told – for global warming?
[ii] I might add the Bible – see especially Leviticus and Deuteronomy – speaks volumes about the obligations of wealthy private individuals to the poor.