“Render Unto Caesar What Is Caesar’s”

Tax Day 2019 has come and gone. It’s actually just Tax Filing Day since every day is a tax day and, if you somehow still manage to own a business or be self-employed, you’ll have several more lesser but still taxing opportunities.

As disheartening as Tax Day always is, April 15, 2019 was far more depressing than usual as we watched in grief and horror as Notre Dame Cathedral burned.

That day was also decidedly disheartening for many employees who file what passes for a simple 1040 form and are accustomed to receiving a tidy sum called a tax refund. Since the 2017 tax law changes, withholding guidelines have been altered. Also, many employees are paying less total tax. Thus more folks are receiving smaller refunds and maybe even having to write an actual check to the IRS. Ouch!

If that’s your situation, I feel your pain, but this disappointing turn of events could provide an instructive moment. Forgive any hint of condescension, but I’m one of those people who are not “subject to withholding” but who are, on the other hand, very regularly subject to actually writing checks to the IRS.

It’s possible there’s some good news in this difficult situation. You may actually be paying less tax this year. Good news: your take-home pay may be a bit larger. Bad news: your tax refund may be a bit smaller. I’d suggest you look at your pay stubs or talk to your tax preparer to actually find out how much tax you pay.

The whole system—I’d say the whole diabolical system—is designed to mislead, promote class warfare and political posturing, and is one notch above a misdirection con game, as this year shows much more clearly than usual.

You’re too smart not to already know this, but lots of folks have very little idea how much they pay in taxes. Why? Because under this system, their employers (operating businesses that actually create wealth and provide jobs) are forced by the government (which does, of course, need revenue) to be unpaid tax collectors. Not only are employers not paid for the onerous, productivity-leeching, and expensive task of thus garnishing their employees’ wages (it’s called “withholding”), many employees have no real idea of how much they pay in taxes, and they consider their employer to be the “bad guy.”

Ah, but then the government comes out of hiding to rescue the day by sending a nice refund check. Unless . . . the tax law changes and less of the employees’ money is filched from their paychecks during the year. Then the refund is thin or, horrors, a check has to be written, and they suddenly realize that paying taxes is both real and painful.

Personally, I don’t much blame folks for being surprised and disheartened this year. But no excuse next year. Now they know. They can either adjust the withholding or, much better, open a savings account and set up an automatic bank draft. If they want a surprise at tax time, they can ask the bank to mail a nice check to them. Their own money.

Just know this: a tax refund is no gift from a benevolent government with a note attached: “All of your money is really ours, but just to show you that we appreciate the hard work you do for that greedy boss garnishing your wages, we’re sending you with our warmest compliments this nice gift.” Phooey!

Jesus taught us to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” Pay your taxes. But don’t fall for a con game. Governmental or otherwise.

 

 

        You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

 

Copyright 2019 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

Advertisements

Comments are disabled.

%d bloggers like this: