KNOXVILLE, TN Â â€“ â€œFeeling anxious about your tax liability and governmentâ€™s ever-increasing share of your income?Â The Bible has many references to taxes that will sound strangely relevant at this time of year â€¦ beginning with the story of David and Goliath,â€ observed Crown CEO Chuck Bentley in an op-ed piece titled â€œEven Jesus Had a Tax Manâ€ at USA Today in advance of the April 15th IRS deadline for federal taxes.
â€œMany remember a teenage boy offended by insults thrown by a giant foe against his nation and God himself, who volunteers to go into battle with a slingshot. But did you know that a tax incentive was part of his prize? Visiting the battlefield, David learns: â€œThe king will give great wealth to the man who kills (Goliath) â€¦ and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.â€ Thatâ€™s a prize many in the military would enjoy.
Throughout the scripture, tax discussions mark many passages, as ancient men and women also worried about how they would pay. Bentley observed that while Jesus himself noted that while sometimes the authority to tax can be abused, paying taxes is part of life.
For people of faith, a healthy respect for reasonable taxes is part of faith-based culture. Writing in Romans 13, the Apostle Paul urged respect for government, because of the vital role leaders play in society, an admonition that goes beyond mere money.
â€œSuch a standard requires civil interaction and mutual respect, important reminders for todayâ€™s toxic political culture,â€ noted Bentley. â€œAnd every IRS agent can take comfort in the fact that Jesus himself had a taxman (Matthew) as a disciple.â€
Still, the growth in tax rates is cause for concern. While a 10% tithe to the church has been the standard for personal giving, todayâ€™s current tax bite can be about 50%, when taking into account Federal, social security, state, local property, corporate, excise, and other state and local taxes. Remember, Pharaoh only took 20% of the grain in Egypt as a form of taxation during their good years.
â€œItâ€™s worth debating whether the state should take such a large bite out of familiesâ€™ resources,â€ observed Bentley.
And for those fortunate enough to get a tax refund, Bentley says put the money to good use following these 7 tips making the most of your opportunity:
Be charitable: Remember those in need. Yes, youâ€™re getting ready with a tax deduction for next year, but people today could use your help.
Give yourself some credit. Pay down debt and raise your credit rating!
Build an emergency savings fund. Get ready for your next car emergency, health scare or home repair by preparing now.
Go 50-50. If you canâ€™t bring yourself to save it all, put half away and feel less guilty enjoying the rest.
Consider the kids. If you havenâ€™t started a fund for their college education, today is a good day.
Think Retirement. The average return of $3,183 is more than half the maximum yearly contribution of a Roth IRA ($6,000 if age 50 and over.)
Treat yourself:Â Do something fun â€¦ with a clear conscience because you know that whatever good choice you made for your future, you made a good plan for your entertainment today.