January 1 rolls around and many of us are already dreading that day that we have we can FINALLY file our taxes for the year. There are few things that are as certain as taxes, but with the tax season coming to a close on the 18th there are three things that might be helpful in contemplating over this Tax Season… then again it might not.
1. Why Should we Pay Taxes and even be Grateful
YEP you heard me, I said we should be grateful for paying taxes (to some degree, but that doesn’t mean that we have to like it). Here are three things that most of us fail to consider when we think about why we should be happy that we pay taxes (not necessarily the amount).
A. Transportation Have you seen any pictures of the roads that our grandparents or great grandparents road on growing up or as adults? Just some of the stories and seeing some of the pictures make me feel like I have whiplash. Now, I know that some would agree with me that our taxes are probably mishandled, but think about the society that we are in.
Yes, in MN we can all agree that our tax dollars going to creating two seasons: Winter & Road Construction seasons. Now this can be quite annoying, but imagine life without those paved roads. Can you imagine 70 MPH on dirt roads everywhere or through grassy lands? Worse yet can you imagine driving down a back dirt road at top speed of 40-45 mph in a Model T Ford around the turn of the 20th century or 65 mph in a Model A Ford around the beginning of the 30s? Our generation has been gifted with some really good transportation, but that doesn’t mean that it is perfect and as long as humans are on earth that will be the case.
B. Protection With all of the bad publicity that the Police Departments have received lately let’s try to be thankful for all of the good that the police department does do. Now since there is no Superman or Batman on the Police force we have to accept that they are humans too, but they provide us protection in our homes every day of the week. Sometimes with just a show of force. Wait don’t stop with the police department for protection.
C. Fire Fighting What about the Fire Department that also protects us? I know that most of us have never needed them, but if you have you understand how important they are in protecting not just someone when there house is on fire, but what about protecting YOU when you YOUR neighbors house is on fire. What did our ancestors do when they had house or forest fires around them?
Lastly as a Christian we it is our duty. And this isn’t just written once, but three times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
And Jesus said to them,
2. Is getting a Refund GOOD or BAD
Most financial gurus would argue with me and say that they are always bad for you, but for me I feel less stressed when tax time comes around because I know that there is a good chance I will get a little back. Now I won’t tell you that a refund is GOOD, because for some it just fuels spending and they end up spending more. But I would like to tell you that I think that YOUR mentality behind getting a Refund is much more important. In the past 12 years since I joined the Army, got married, and had a daughter and waiting for daughter #2 there has only been one year that I did not receive a tax refund and that is because of a tax exemption in my Deployment to Iraq.
If your mentality is right and you are not using it to purchase additional toys, but taking care in how you spend it then I think there is no problem with having a single rate applied to a married individuals W4. Especially if you have had adjusting life circumstances that could change your exemption status: getting married, divorced, or adding children.
3. What should I do with my Refund if I receive one?
Good question and yet there are many answers, but few that are right. Here is the list of the ones that I consider most important things that should be done with them in the order of priority.
- Give back to God/Tithe or give to Charity
You can never give enough of yourself.
- Pay off Debt
Indeed, debt follows many of us around like a lost puppy and we never seem to be able to get rid of, BUT don’t add to the problem at Tax time when you receive that return and buy something that you could live without. Payoff what you already had.
- Save for an Emergency
I know you never have any emergencies, because they NEVER happen to you. Didn’t your mom ever tell you not to say never? It is Murphy’s Law, if you don’t plan for an emergency then you will most assuredly have one, but if you have an Emergency Fund you may never have an emergency (better the latter by far). This is vital to protect you from ending up back in debt. It is always important to have some cushion to protect you from life’s natural disasters. Different financial advisors will advise of different specific amounts. I say just get something, at least the $1000 that Dave Ramsey suggests as the baby Emergency Fund.
If you haven’t completed your taxes yet
you better get your buns in gear, only 5 days left.
How did you use the Tax Refund you received?