My qualifications include having lived with an accounting major in college and managing a fiscally sound utopia in SimCity.
Tax season is a special time. Donald Trump gets flagged for another audit, bean counters live off of Seamless and the Devils Dandruff and human beings are degraded by holding sandwich boards on busy streets to attract people into H&R Block. But also around this time there is a steady buzz of office chatter not unlike prematurely spending a Powerball jackpot. People are generally over the fucking moon to have their tax refund as good as spent.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret that probably bunches more CPA’s panties than their respective accountancy running out of Keurig cups. This sudden influx of seemingly free money is not good. In other words, a tax refund is not a good thing. Let me be abundantly clear: YOU DO NOT WANT A LARGE TAX REFUND. Got it?
But first, a Zack Morris timeout.
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Now let me drop some Accounting 101 clifnotes on you:
Instead of tarring and feathering tax collectors, we’re asking if we can file early to get our tax return. But a return is just that – receiving something that you let someone borrow. In this case that something is your hard earned fun coupons (read: cash) and that someone is Uncle Sam (read: the Government). So for those of you keeping score at home, if you get a tax refund, you’ve been giving the government an interest free loan.
This means that you’ve been withholding too much from your income taxes. You know, that line on your pay stub that says “Tax”, “Gov. With.” or “Fuck You.” But who am I kidding, as a millennial, you’ve got a direct deposit into your bank account. So I could go into explaining how to change your withholding, but I’d be lying AND that seems like a “you” problem. Here is a link from a somewhat reputable source to help you out.
This all might come across as weekday, mid-afternoon History channel conspiracy theory rhetoric, but the IRS, the H&R Blocks of the world and even your friendly neighborhood Jewish accountant are playing into the scam that is the endorphin stimulating tax refund. You think they’re finding you money so you like them. In a time long, long ago, privileged, bloated white men laughed maniacally in the halls of the Capitol over expensive glasses of scotch as they came up with a plan to convince the average American that he was getting a windfall paid by the government at some undisclosed date in March or April. And we’ve all fallen for it hook line and sinker.
Our tea tossing forefathers are rolling in their shallow graves at the thought of our own government not just bending us over but using chloroform to knock us into submission and impose their will on us. For the cost of a couple thousand seasonal employees (read: high school dropouts) and the price of rent for the storefronts where Christmas and Halloween stores pop up, H&R Block is convincing you they are handing you hundreds of free dollars. And that family accountant everyone seems to have? Besides having a huge ass, he’s got a knack for getting someone with no dependents and nary a drop of interest to write off, a $14,000 tax return. Congratulations you’ve committed tax fraud.
Even Turbo Tax is setup like an online casino. Type in your W2 code and watch the lights and sirens go off as your big green tax refund figure grows in the upper left corner. Enter that student loan interest and become a high roller, Mr. Pappagorgio.
So don’t get bamboozled by your government more than you already do. Remember these are the same people who make you pay a 5 cent bottle deposit tax just so some vagrant can trespass on your property and steal that former container of beer to get your 5 cents. So in the words of Lil Dicky, “save dat money.” Earn interest on it, pay down debt, burn it Pablo Escobar style, but whatever you do, don’t let the government use it for free.
Fiscally conservative mic drop.
The only way that the government should get this interest free loan is if you can earmark it for use of your choice. For example, paying for new armor and weapons for troops or for paying off/murdering hookers that pose a risk to a candidates ala “House of Cards.” Wishful thinking.