The Sunday Poll: Harrowing Taxes Edition

If you’re an American reader, your taxes are due in a little more than a week on April 18th. If you are weeping and cursing your tax forms even now, take a little break to add your two cents to the Sunday Poll (if you’ll have two cents left after you file). I want to know what you think about a little tax advice I got the other day.

Correct me if I’m wrong and I should go learn something about economics and government before I go writing all willy-nilly about taxes, but I’ve heard that a tax refund is nothing more than the repayment of an interest-free loan you gave to the government out of your own paycheck. If you have paid the US government more than you owe, you have to wait until springtime to get the money back, without so much as a thank you for your funds.

I was in line at the bank recently, and a cheerful woman was giving me financial advice on a TV blaring over the captive customers. She said that there were only two acceptable options for your tax refund, should you be so lucky as to get one: you should put that “windfall” right into your savings account, or use it to pay off high-interest credit card debt. Since I have been led to believe that a tax refund is, in fact, a batch of my own pay that was whisked out of my wallet before I could spend it on groceries, insurance or Jane Austen DVDs, I am rankled by my bank’s insistence that I should treat my tax refund like an unexpected financial gift.

What do you think?

After all of this, I did not get a tax refund this year. If you are getting one, you have my sympathies – sorry you had to loan your money to the government. I owe Uncle Sam 32 more dollars and I’m just going to pay up and be done with it. Until next year.

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