If your inbox, internet ads, or television commercials are anything like mine, they’re probably yelling at you about your tax refund. It’s Waiting For You!
As though it’s been lost all year long, or you forgot to pick it up after soccer practice on Wednesday.
Is your return just sitting there on the curb, in the rain, cold . . . lonely? Hoping to see you drive up with a smile and a treat from McDonald’s?
It’s Not Yours, Yet
If you do receive a tax refund check this year, where do you think it is right now?
- In an envelope with your name on it?
- Tied up in a bow?
- On someone’s desk at the IRS?
- In a safety deposit box?
- Fort Knox?
The truth is, your refund check isn’t yours right now. It’s the government’s money. You gave it to them, willingly, from every paycheck in 2016. You won’t even earn interest on it.
And because your refund is currently in the possession of the government, it’s tied up in their machine. Your money is paying bills, salaries, and supplying the needs of thousands of government-related costs.
You Didn’t Win the Jackpot
BE AWARE!! Your tax refund check isn’t free money. You only receive a refund if you paid too much in taxes over the past year. And no one wants to pay to much.
Everyone owes taxes to the US Government, but you don’t have to overpay. A person only receives a tax refund when they gave to much of their paycheck to Uncle Sam in the form of taxes.
If you figure this out while computing your tax paperwork, then you get a refund.
Of course, you could also make the mistake of underpaying your taxes. In which case, you won’t get a tax refund, but a tax bill.
Good or Bad?
So, is getting a tax refund good or bad? Many personal finance professionals are so passionate about NOT overpaying taxes throughout the year that they almost shame refund recipients.
Seriously, getting a fat (or slim) refund check from the IRS feels so good. Ammiright? Right up until everyone starts telling you how you wasted your money by loaning it to the government for 12 months. And you’ll inevitably hear all of the statistics about people blowing their refund checks on frivolous purchases.
So what, is a refund a curse? Like all those sad stories of lottery winners.
For me, I want to keep as much money as I can from every paycheck. Do I trust myself that I won’t waste any of it? No. Everyone has their missteps. But I don’t know if I wouldn’t waste some from my refund check either. One thing’s for sure, I don’t want to underpay, only to have to come up with a big wad of cash later.
Whatever your situation, take the time to review your current tax withholding paperwork. It can only help.
And as always, be wise with your money.