There is a line (40)in the 1040 labeled "Taxable Income"
There is a line (60) in the 1040 labeled "Total Tax"
naive students of English who have had no contact with the IRS would naturally assume that line 40 would be larger than line 60. Yeah, right. We technically owed (and paid) NO income tax for 2003. All of our tax burden was included in the Self-employment tax and a small amount of tax on an early withdrawal from an IRA (one of the ways we kept afloat last year).
So, either we're Robber Barons, who pay no income tax, and report our taxable income as 15.4% of our "real" income.. Or, we're poor over-taxed small business owners who paid out more in taxes than our income... Take your spin.
I'm thinking the flat tax would be no panacea - because business owners still have to do an accounting and there still have to be rules about when outgo reduces income, and at what point one takes a snapshot and says "there, that's the amount we want to take our cut from."
The good news is that we paid over half our tax through quarterly payments, and have the money to pay the rest now. Yay!