# How many boxes do you need to be incomprehensible?

Calculating tax isn’t easy, I agree. So why not make it as difficult as possible. Yes, we are in the wonderful world of options.

And my favourite set ever are the binary boxes. Yes have three boxes that can be checked. Hence you don’t merely have three possible states, you have 2^3 states.

You can have no box checked. That, apparently is the default behaviour. Let’s call it run payroll(monthly)
Then you can have one box checked. That means update payroll to today
Then you can have another box checked, that means calculate payroll to date x
Then you can have both of them checked, that means calculate payroll between date x and today
Then you can have other, which means calculate between whichever date it was and the next day that payroll would have run in the normal course of things (I think – or maybe it means do it but using offshore tax rules – or maybe it means do it without public holidays unless you are in the southern hemisphere) .

How am I supposed to explain how stupid that is? That just because something is efficient and delivers the maximum options in the minimum space doesn’t mean that it is useful.

Sometimes I hate my job. Sometimes I want to groom dogs or persuade the NRA that guns are not a basic necessity of life.

And I want a Ben Goldacre t-shirt saying “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that”