I am writing this in between doing my and my girlfriend’s returns. Taxes can be a big, complicated, daunting thing to really delve in to and think about. I mean, how can something with 16,000 pages NOT be complicated!? Yep, that’s right. The full text of the Title 26 tax code of the US is 16,000 pages long. No wonder people leave it to professionals! I’m not here to tell you to bring your taxes to a pro, I’m not telling you to do them yourself. I’ll leave that up to you. What I do want to do is give you a few schools of thought on taxes and see what jives best with you.

I Love My Tax Return!

Sure, when I get money back from taxes early in the year I love it too! Who doesn’t want more money? Did you ever stop to think about why you’re getting a tax return though? Think about it. You’ll get money back from taxes in 2013 if you paid the government too much money in 2012! Does that irk anyone else, or am I alone here? I don’t want to give the government a dime in the first place, but now I gave them too much money and they held on to it, for a year, and I’m getting it back. Without interest. Not cool, government, not cool.

I Owe Taxes…This Sucks

The inverse of the scenario above. You owe the government more money from the prior year. In an ideal situation, one would plan for this, have the money set aside earning interest and be able to pay the tax bill and have had that money working for you. Seems pretty swell, let’s face it though, most of the time we’re not dealing with ideal situations are we? Have you ever owed money from the prior year? It does suck if you haven’t planned ahead for it. Another expense on an already too-short supply of money. Not cool…me, very not cool.

Even Steven

You’ve done your taxes and the total is *drum roll* ZERO! You aren’t getting a cent back and you don’t owe anything. Personally, currently I strive for as close to zero as possible. I dislike the notion of giving my money to an entity for a year, no interest, way too much to want a tax return! I have a couple financial obstacles in play right now that prevent me from holding on to my money to owe taxes when it’s all said and done so I try to balance out.

Know Yourself

You’ve read the above scenarios. Which seems like the one that meshes with you the best? Are you disciplined enough to pay less taxes now so you can take that extra money, put it in to savings and pay taxes at the end? Do you want a break even situation in which you don’t have to worry about paying in? Or, do you want to stick to the norm and get a big, fat refund? There isn’t a ‘best’ of the three for everyone. People are different and have different situations. I know my situation and you know yours. Choose what’s best for you and stick to it.
You can make your checks bigger instantly by changing your W 4 form to have more personal allowances. It’s a process that takes literally just a few minutes. The government will take out a smaller amount of money for taxes each paycheck. Take care though to take this extra money and stash it away in to savings right away otherwise the money you’ll owe will leave you with a tax bill to pay and no money set aside to pay it with…

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