11 photos of what America might look like if we all followed Donald Trump's tax advice.

Former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society."

For Donald Trump, it seems a little light anarchy might just be the price of a really sweet deal.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.


Following the bombshell New York Times report that in 1995, the businessman and current presidential candidate claimed losses so staggering that he might not have paid federal income taxes for 18 years, two possibilities have emerged:

One is that Trump truly did lose almost a billion dollars in one year. The other — the one Trump would prefer we all believe — is that the former casino, university, vodka, and steak mogul is so adept at gaming the system that, with one genius pen-stroke, he was able to avoid any of his hard-earned dollars going to Uncle Sam for nearly two decades.

It's a dubious claim, at best. But suppose we take Trump at his word. Suppose we extrapolate that out a little. I mean, I like to think I'm smart. You seem smart too. And Trump has a point: Not paying out 10-40% of our annual income is certainly tempting. If taxes are optional, why shouldn't we all benefit?

What if we were all so smart that we didn't pay our taxes?

Here's a snapshot of what that version of America might look like:

1. The George Washington Bridge at rush hour might look like this.

Without the Federal Highway Administration and various state and local port authorities and departments of transportation, commuters would have to cross rivers the old-fashioned way.

On the plus side, the plastic kayak industry would boom and your upper body would be much stronger.

2. Your house might look like this.

Even worse? If your house ever caught on fire, no fire department would come because fire departments cost tax money. Pretty, though!

3. Yellowstone National Park might look like this.

For a mere $3 billion per annum, the National Park Service provides every American with the opportunity to stare slack-jawed at a bison out of their rental-car window as often as they like for as long as they like.

Without it, America's most iconic hydrothermal hotspot would just be another empty plot of land. Maybe not entirely empty. Someone would probably put a parking lot there. Who knows?

4. Aretha Franklin performing "A Natural Woman" would look something like this.

Aretha Franklin photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images. Background image via iStock.

Washington, D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opened in 1971, eight years after Congress authorized $23 million of federal funds to build it. Which means that without your tax dollars, Franklin's iconic late-career performance of "A Natural Woman," which brought President Obama and Carole King to tears, never would have happened.

Actually, the performance might have still happened, but it would have happened in an empty field with no one around to enjoy it. Sad!

5. The Purge might be real.

Without the hundreds of millions of dollars we contribute in taxes to state law enforcement budgets, there would be no police to stop The Purge from happening.

True, even well-funded police aren't perfect, but if there's one thing cops are probably good at, it's keeping the crazed cannibal armies at bay. And for that, we at least owe them our thanks and a small cut of our paychecks.

6. After eating eggs from the supermarket, you might look like this.

Photo via iStock.

Who doesn't enjoy a round of salmonella roulette?! Without the $1 billion we send the Food Safety and Inspection Service annually, it wouldn't matter because you wouldn't have a choice but to play!

7. Ducks might look ... kind of like this.

A small but not insignificant 0.48% of federal spending goes to funding America's critical scientific infrastructure, including the Duck Research Laboratory in Eastport, New York, which studies basic duck care, duck nutrition, and duck housing and management.

Suffice it to say that you don't want to think about how America's ducks would be doing if we didn't pay taxes.

8. Your boat after a boating accident might look like this.

When no one is paying taxes, don't expect the Coast Guard help you flip your turtled sailboat. Your nautical accidents are your own damn problem. Up by your bootstraps! Self-reliance!

9. Yankee Stadium

We can debate the merits of funding private sports stadiums with taxpayer money all night and all day, but if you thought the beer selection was terrible at Yankee Stadium now ... yikes.

10. The internet might not exist.

W-E-L-L A-C-T-U-A-L-L-Y. Photo by Javier Capella, U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons.

Your tax dollars helped build the internet, which means probably no email, definitely no Facebook, and super-definitely no cat-stands-on-two-legs-cause-it-thinks-it's-a-person GIFs.

You would finally finish that screenplay with all the time you'd save, though.

11. And Washington, D.C., might look a little something like this.

National defense makes up nearly a quarter of the federal budget. It's an important quarter because (good-faith disagreements about appropriate levels of military spending aside) without that money, we'd be sitting ducks for a Norwegian invasion force. They wouldn't even have to send an army. A bunch of children could do it. Here is their victory parade.

Taxes pay for a lot of cool stuff. Necessary stuff. Most Americans, it turns out, agree with that.

Sure, you might think taxes are too high. Or you might think they're too low. You might object to some of what they pay for. But hey, it's nice to have highways! And schools. And relative safety. And society.

Maybe Trump's right and it takes a genius to get away with not paying taxes. Lucky for America, we're not all so smart.

True

2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.

via Wikimedia Commons and Goalsetter

America's ethnic wealth gap is a multi-faceted problem that would take dramatic action, on multiple fronts, to overcome. One of the ways to help communities improve their economic well-being is through financial literacy.

Investopedia says there are five primary sources of financial education—families, high school, college, employers, and the military — and that education and household income are two of the biggest factors in predicting whether someone has a high level of financial literacy.

New Orleans Saints safety, two-time Super Bowl Champion, and social justice activist Malcolm Jenkins and The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation hope to help bridge the wealth gap by teaching students about investing at a young age.

Keep Reading Show less
True

2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.