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Your Money Milestones: A Guide to Making the 9 Most Important Financial Decisions of Your Life by Ph.D. Moshe A. Milevsky

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5. Government Tax Authorities: Partners, Adversaries, or Bazaar Merchants?

In late 1994, just around the festive Christmas and New Year’s time of year, the State of Minnesota carried out what can be described only as a cruel experiment on its citizens. When I tell this story to my students, they often shudder and some even groan aloud. I like to start my lecture (and now this chapter) with the story of this infamous experiment because it can teach us quite a bit about the most unpleasant, reoccurring financial milestone in everyone’s life: April 15, which is the deadline for filing taxes in the United States.1 Here’s what happened in Minnesota. Approximately 47,000 taxpayers who filed their (1993) tax returns properly and on time were chosen ...

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