Wendy Gladney (File photo)

If you are like most people, tax season is not your favorite time of year. The majority of people already feel they are trying to make every dollar stretch from their paychecks. Our annual tax deadline is right around the corner and if you get hit with a bill, it can make you feel defeated.  

Taxes come in all forms and fashions.  The ones we tend to pay attention to the most are sales tax, property tax, income tax, inheritance tax, road tolls (tax), assessments (tax), and even a gift tax, just to name a few.   

Taxes have been with us since the beginning of time. Even in biblical days, we learned the people had to pay unto Caesar what was due to Caesar (tax), and then, of course, people of color are very aware of what is known as the “Black tax.” Every society has their own form of taxes.  

In more modern times, due to the strain on the country from the Civil War, the first American income tax, as we know it, came in 1861. The United States Constitution gave Congress the power to impose taxes and other levies on the general public as they saw fit.  Over time, our tax system evolved, and it was officially enacted in 1913 and continued to develop into the 1920s and 1930s. The Income Tax system was first initiated to tax people who made more than $800 and they were taxed at a flat rate.  Over time this system adjusted, and now people are taxed based on income, marital status, how many children they have, the write offs they qualify for, and other factors depending on what state they live in.  

Most people feel the heaviest burden rests on the people who are in the middle (not poor but not rich). The middle class bare most of the tax burden for the rest of the population.  This is not fair, and we need to figure out what needs to be done to make the tax burden more equitable. 

In our community, some of us have experienced what is referred to as the “Black tax.” The term originated in South Africa but is true across the diaspora. The term “Black tax” carries the weight of when one of us does well financially, we feel the responsibility of pulling up our family members who may not have been able to do as well. Some feel that this tax exists because of the history in America towards the Black community starting with slavery.  Slavery in America created this wealth gap.   

The wealth of white America was built on the backs of enslaved people. Historically, the role of segregation, discrimination, redlining, and other components have held people of color back from equitably achieving the same level of success across the board. The playing field may be better, but it is not equitable for people of color and women even today.  

The bottom line is none of us can get out of this life without our share of paying taxes, but what can we do to lighten our load and make it all manageable? For starters, I think it is important to get the best understanding of money as you can.  Work on getting as many legitimate write-offs as possible. Think about what investments you can put your money in and start working on building your retirement funds as soon as possible.  There are some investment instruments where you can put your money in today and delay taxes until you pull out the funds and use them when you retire.   

If you do not want to feel overwhelmed, stay on top of all your finances and options so you can embrace a gracious lifestyle throughout your life. Look at money as a tool instead of a weapon.  Control your money and do not let it control you.  Remember, most of us do not plan to fail.  We just fail to plan.  Make your money a tool that works for you in every season you encounter. 

Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on. 


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.