Tax season is upon us. And so begins my annual Don Quixote quest to convince people that receiving a large tax return is not, repeat not, a good thing.
Every week, bi-week, or month, depending on your pay schedule, your government takes away a portion of your paycheck in taxes. They do this so you don’t have to pay them all in one big lump sum which would prove too much of a financial burden for most of us who aren’t the best at saving up resources.
It also makes the hit we take seem painless, since they forcibly remove a chunk first and then allow us to have whatever is left over when they are finished. In terms of nature, think of us as a pack of hyena taking down a zebra, then the big lion comes and eats a chunk of our zebra, leaving us whatever is left when they’re full. I believe the fastest way to tax reform would be to let people have their entire paycheck so they have to write the government that big whopping check each time and see just how much is taken away from them, but that’s another post.
Many people allow the government to keep far, far too much of their paychecks all year long so that at year’s end they receive the over payments back in the form of a tax return. Many refer to this as the forced government savings program.
This means that many, many people are giving the United States government a completely interest free loan, every year, out of their hard-earned money. I personally do not like the United States government enough to give them a single penny more than what they insist upon taking away from me by force, even if they give some of it back later.
Ted and I have a goal of owing and receiving exactly zero each year at tax season. Sometimes we owe a little, sometimes we get a little back, but usually we come pretty close to our goal and that’s great. If we achieve it, that means we haven’t given the government anything that they didn’t demand from us and instead had control of as much of our own earnings as possible all year to do with as we deem appropriate, not as the government sees fit.
Listen, if you want to save up money that’s fantastic. It’s a great idea. Go to a bank and tell them how much you’d like to save up by year’s end, divide that amount by 52 and have that portion of your paycheck shunted into the account that you control and that the bank (unlike the government) will pay you interest for.
As for me, I won’t be giving my government a red cent more than that which they take from me at gunpoint. Think I’m being dramatic? Try not paying your taxes and see who comes knocking on your door.