Tax season gets unfairly stigmatized as a negative time of year. People stress over their tax returns as if they have an option. Tax season is as predictable as a birthday. It comes every year at the same time and you go through the same meaningless crap with the same group of people. The only difference between tax day and your birthday is the group of people who you only vaguely care about is the IRS and not your family. But tax season should be a joyous time of year. For the majority of us who are not independently wealthy, tax time means you will likely be seeing some monies returning to you via refund. You’ll be able to stave off abject poverty for another couple of months. Congratulations.
When dealing with your taxes, there are countless hidden and less-than-obvious ways to include additional deductions whether it is through charitable contributions or energy-saving initiatives in your own household. For most people, it is the bigger and more obvious ones that we look forward to as the new tax season approaches. One of the greatest deductions is for a dependent. Having a child has very few silver linings, however one of the most noticeable is the tax deduction that your child represents. After potentially many months of misery and near-bankruptcy, you’ll finally get to cash in on your offspring. It may truly be the only time when having a child actually seems beneficial.
For most common folk, we place our trust in services like Quicken or TurboTax in order to take the thought out of preparing our taxes. We simply enter our info and trust that the algorithm calculates our taxes accurately. Through this, not only are we attempting to collect the largest return sum possible, but we are eliminating the potential of screwing up the math ourselves and thus minimizing the likelihood that we will be audited. A man wiser than I once recounted that being the subject of an IRS audit was the financial equivalent of a full rectal examination. Only the select few of us who enjoy pencil-pushing strangers playing around our asses dare temp the IRS to fulfill this prophecy. Because of this reality, the trust we place in tax services is a double edged sword. While you may assume slightly less liability for an incorrect tax return, you’re left placing a large amount of financial faith in the accuracy of a computer program. This may be a good thing though. After all, the last time we trusted human competency over computer intelligence, George W. Bush became president.
Seasoned parents will tell you that filing your return after having a baby is a joyous time. However, claiming a dependent on your taxes has been blown out of proportion as a tremendous asset in raising a child. It is touted as one of the true financial benefits of having a kid. I’ve learned, however, that while a child may represent a sizeable deduction, the ultimate outcome is less than thrilling. While you certainly won’t be forced to pay more money, the funds you will receive are meager in comparison to the expectations created by society. When filing my tax return this year, I expected that not only would I recover the full sum of taxes withheld throughout the year, but that I would be handsomely rewarded by the federal government via surplus currency for the suffering I endured. I was not asking for much. Just the full sum of taxes paid, free child care for a year, and a five-piece, woodwind orchestra to awaken me each morning. This is what modern society has led me to believe happens when you claim a dependent. What I learned was that taxes are confusing and TurboTax doesn’t factor in human agony.
In conclusion, did I receive a larger return this year than I did last? Yes. I fully expected that and more. My current tax return, while enough to avoid abject poverty for another few months, is severely lacking considering what I was duped into believing. I can now move forward with the knowledge of what next tax season will bring. More importantly, I have confirmed that creating more humans is not beneficial to anyone. So as we all gather ‘round the dinner table this tax day, we can be thankful for poverty-rescuing refunds and a home without an abundance of babies. Perhaps the emotional solace actually makes it all worthwhile.
To American parents everywhere: Happy tax season. W-2s are available for immediate pick-up. Contraceptives are in aisle 5.