10 Tax Exemptions You Should Know

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How the IRS Works

How the IRS Works

The IRS or Internal Revenue Service handles taxes. Learn about the history of the IRS and how it enforces taxes.

Author's Note: 10 Tax Exemptions You Should Know

Seriously, though. I would love to be a fly on the conference room wall when the poor IRS writers sit down to compose their annual filing instructions. I am 100 percent sure that it's not their intention to create the most convoluted and confusing documents in the English language, but it's hard to tell from the results.

The true culprit, I know, isn't the IRS itself, but the 4-million-word tax code that it's trying to explain. There are so many terms to define, and so many caveats and special cases to decipher, that there's no way to be brief and straightforward. Also, your audience is so incredibly diverse — from wealthy households with vacation properties and foreign stock earnings, to struggling families surviving on government assistance.

This is how we get a definition of "dependent" that stretches over two pages and still doesn't address every possible way that a person can depend on your financially. So my heart goes out to the derided IRS, even as I mercilessly make fun of their forms. Why do I feel an audit in my future?

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