Tax Return ~= Free Money

I just finished my taxes a few minutes ago. Now, I realize that financial analysts or whatever say that it's better to owe at the end of the year because you can make use of the money and earn interest on it yourself rather than letting it sit with the government like a free loan and let them earn interest on it.

My view, though, is that I like getting what appears to be "free money" in the mail at the end of the year. The interest I would have earned on the money never seems to be more than a couple of bucks anyway.

So, like I said, I just finished my taxes, and while I only owe the state like $30 and the feds like $70, I never anticipated the county tax being quite so high.

See, I live in Multnomah County, and last year they had a special vote to put in a "temporary tax" or some shit because the state squandered a bunch of money on stuff it didn't need to do so they punished the schools and public works departments by stealing money from those. You know, make it hurt the taxpayers so there's a perceived value in adding more new taxes to support the programs that are actually useful, right? Anyway, they put this new tax to the vote and the voters, stupid as all hell, voted it in. And it wasn't just a tax starting when the vote hit, it was retroactive for the whole year.

Okay, so this tax passes and we have the option of having money taken from our paychecks for the remaining three months of the year to cover the Multnomah County tax, and then we pay at the end of the year for the remaining nine months' worth of tax that wasn't stolen from our paychecks.

I paid $137 via paycheck deduction for the last three months. I didn't think I'd get hit too hard at the end of the year.

I did my taxes and, even after the $137, I still owe Multnomah County $461.

I mean, why don't they just send someone to my house to jam a hot poker up my ass while they're at it? I didn't vote for additional tax - I don't have kids, and, frankly, most of the money's going to the school system that I don't use or generally agree with. But still, I get raped by the county to fix their screwup. (Here's a big shout-out to those voters who voted in the tax. Thanks, guys! I fucking appreciate it!)

After all was said and done, my effective tax rate was like 20%. That means between the state, feds, and county, I'm getting like 20% of my gross pay stolen to support lawmakers' pork barrel projects.

Thank God Jenn and I are moving out of Multnomah-fucking-County. I like the place, but shit, I just can't afford to live here anymore. I'll still owe 'em for a partial year's residency, but maybe I can still get out without having to donate blood plasma.

posted on Saturday, February 14, 2004 12:16 PM | Filed Under [ General Ramblings ]


Gravatar # Re: Tax Return ~= Free Money
by LOST at 2/16/2004 2:57 PM
How's that feel ??!!??
Gravatar # Re: Tax Return ~= Free Money
by Tanya at 2/17/2004 10:44 AM
Ok, Travis, but if you paid $137 for 3 months' worth, and it was retroactive for a year, and you put $137*3 into your calculator (cuz there are 4 groups of 3 months in a 12 month year, right?) than you at least get $411... I'm not sure where the extra $50 came from... surchage for waiting maybe. Either way, you shouldn't have been too shocked at the total.

I'm more shocked that taxes were raised that much RETROACTIVELY. That's just bizarre... and I live in a tax heavy country (8% provincial sales tax and 7% federal tax called the "Goods and Services" tax, or GST which adds up to 15% tax on ANYTHING I buy except for food and children's clothes! Now, it works out OK cuz at the restaurant you can figure out that your tip should be exactly what the taxes add up to, and I do get a LOT of free services for the deal, like completely free health care, but still...) And I've never heard of a referendum to raise taxes, it always goes along with whomever you vote in.
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