The tax deduction offered for the costs of managing your tax affairs is, of course, one of the most egregious examples of upper-class welfare. The public sector loses two ways: once, by encouraging people to use tax minimisation services, and twice, by paying people who might otherwise be gainfully employed doing something useful to provide these services. For the love of God, Montresor!
So I always do my tax myself. Some years it comes back covered with little notes telling me to tick boxes I forgot to tick, or provide documents I neglected to provide in my lackadaisical way. That's what happened this year, so I fixed it up and sent it back again. Thus my assesment arrived a few days ago, charging me interest of $105 on a tax bill of $778 or thereabouts- presumably charged over the two and a half months since the 31st of October.
I don't mind paying $883, since it is less than the tax bill I usually end up with, but it is a little embarassing having a government that is prepared to charged such Yakuza-like interest rates.
Dante put the usurers in the same circle of Hell as the Sodomites. Any halfway decent 14th century moral theologian could have made a convincing case for letting out the sinners whose sin was victimless, but nobody that I know of ever made any logical argument for freeing the usurers: they just kind of slipped under the radar. I know I would feel much happier living in a country whose leaders made up their budget shortfalls by producing gay porn, instead of engaging in the vile practice of usury. Then there would at least be the chance they might accidentally create something arty with enduring aesthetic value.
(* : The title refers, of course, to the budget surplus...)