Now, About This Alleged Increase In Tax Withholdings By The Government...

Tyler Durden's picture

We are a little confused by all the recent hype in the media about a surge in individual tax withholdings by the US Treasury. Our confusion is predicated primarily by the fact that this is patently not true. As regular readers are aware, we keep track of the primary source of this data, the Daily Treasury Statement which is the primary source for withholdings data, and, we observe that not only is there no secular or episodic boost in gross wittholdings (not net, we will run that report as well, although we have previously disclosed tha refunds in 2010 are actually way higher than 2009 so don't expecte that trend to change), but tax withholdings in 2010 continue to trend lower compared to the "abysmal" first quarter of 2009. Ironically so far 2010 is shaping up far worse than 2009, at least when it comes to tax withholding.

The chart below shows weekly gross withholdings Year over Year for the first 13 weeks of 2010, and the first 20 weeks of 2009.

The next chart indicates cumulative tax withholdings: it is obvious to see that the 2010 trendline is running well below 2009 collections.

When we account for refunds, we are positive that net withholdings will indicate an even uglier picture when it comes to the one organic source of funding for the government.

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Bear's picture

"one organic source of funding" ... I love it ... as opposed to the fertilized source of funding

Mercury's picture

Only the government would believe you could fertilize anything by going in that hole...

ZerOhead's picture

And speaking of fertilizer... looks like the boys at Treasury Stats got the message "No two consecutive weeks of declining withholdings... or else!"

Up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down... same pattern 13 weeks in a row!

Anyone want to guess where the withholdings are heading next week?

Alienated Serf's picture

you are aware most people are paid biweekly, 1st/15th of the month....

Kitler's picture

Good work! Someones been in the catnip again.

ZerOhead's picture

Damn you to hell with your logical explainations!

girl money's picture

to track the expansion or contraction of withholdings:

gather withholdings daily for each month

calculate the average, being careful to use only the number of days that withholdings were reported (weekends, federal holidays, etc. will not have a report)

graph and look for trendline

this will avoid all skewing from weekly, biweekly, semimonthly and monthly payrolls

bugs_'s picture

One thing worth mentioning is that the
withholding in 2009 for many of us were
underwithheld as part of the stimulus #1.
My April 15'th bill is higher than
normal as a result.

The January withholding increased to the
pre2009/stimulus level and so at least
for me there has been an increase in the
tax withholdings compared to the 2009


SteveNYC's picture

Likewise, got rimmed on the end of year.

trav7777's picture

FUCK YOU DURDEN...the government NEVER LIES.

Mad Max's picture

We really need a sarcasm/irony font so we can more easily determine which comments are somewhat insightful and which are pure trolling...

Mercury's picture

Your post is the one that's confusing. Surely you didn't have to read trav7777's comment more than once to discern his intent?

Mad Max's picture

There are enough new posters (*cough* ahem some trolls) who would post the same statement seriously that it's hard to be truly certain.

girl money's picture

EXCELLENT, been digging for some detail on this very thing, as soon I heard some hoopla over individual tax receipts being better than anticipated.

In your data, is there a way to tell what portion of these receipts were from the tax deferred retirement accounts that were raided to pay for rent, groceries and heat?  That would boost the receipts, too, but would go against the argument that employment is improving.



RobD's picture

Another interesting bit of info would be how many people have taken loans against there 401Ks to make ends meet. Better to take half your 401k and pay yourself interest and use it for PMs and ammo then to let the market eat it up or have the .gov shove it into treasuries.

Alienated Serf's picture

i've also been trying to find total 401k inflow rates, goes along with the whole no volume thing....

Mercury's picture

Ditto.  Anyone have any good IRA/401k early distribution data?

Rainman's picture

hmmm..... That would be a valuable analysis. Could very well be the < 59 1/2 crowd will take an ordinary tax hit plus 10 % now as opposed to paying an even bigger load of taxes on a 2011 distribution. 

It's either gubmint or Wall Street fighting to get it all. Like being in Vegas....craps table or hookers.

TexasAggie's picture

I believe this has been partially commented on - but in Fe/Mar 09, most people got a pre-2009 tax refund and lower rates to boost the economy.  However, in 2010, the rates have returned. Therefore, 2010 should be considerable higher at htis time if the economy was that much improved.

buzzsaw99's picture

starve teh beestie!

MarketTruth's picture

WAIT!!!  Withholdings should GO DOWN because there will be no more Medicare PLUS a big fat refund for all those years of being forced to give money into Medicare yet still being too young to get any of the future benefits.

Where are American's Medicare refund checks?!?!?

Raymond K Hassel's picture

From a grass roots level as a CPA in FL almost done with the season - something close to 500-600 returns done, mostly upper middle class retirees - the revenue picture is abysmmal - '09 was horrible, '10 has been suprisingly even worse (in part perhaps possibly exacerbated for some by the fact that min req distributions were not required in '09).  I have too many clients whose tax burden on their '09 1040 is 10% to 20% of what it was on their '07 1040 - that is fucking amazing, truly amazing. 

Raymond K Hassel's picture

let me add one exception - the federal gov't retirees - they aren't off by so much. 

Rainman's picture

And I just wonder how State prop tax revenue is going. In CA the Counties are bogged down with thousands of appeals.... gubmint claims they don't have enough people to process it all. As expected, those protesting their assessments must give testimony as to why they believe they are being unfairly taxed and provide evidence. Guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

I suspect a lot of other states have a similar " backlog ". 

berlinjames02's picture

Thanks for the post Raymond. It's great to hear what people are seeing on the front lines.

@ Rainman and Cognitive Dissonance: I agree completely. Recently I have been wondering what the IRS capacity for prosecuting tax evaders is? Whatever the magic number is (I might do some detective work to try and back into a number) I would love to see an organized movement of people evading taxes.

Don't like the health-care legislation? Don't pay taxes! Don't like the Fed? Don't pay taxes! Don't like the bailouts? Don't pay taxes.

You've got to hit these guys where it hurts- the pocketbook. Even if you miss, you'll still hit them in the nuts. The politicians don't understand what's occurring. The Fed and banks understand but are working in their own interests. 

I'm also encouraged to see a lot of people moving their money to local banks. Wouldn't it be great to have a coordinated run on specific banks? Imagine getting up tomorrow and seeing a line at the local Citigroup. Would there be domino effects to other banks?

The worst part of this scenario is that the Treasury/Fed/FDIC would REALLY fire up the printers then! It's one thing to enter a couple key strokes, it's quite another to print billions.

(phew... finally posted against the correct comment!)

Raymond K Hassel's picture

Just finished another this morning - this guy is still 'doing well' with his business - his '09 tax burden was $188,069....but looking back on his '08 return his burden was $259,594 and on his '07 it was $377,436.  NO WAY IN HELL the numbers aren't being cooked or very carefully constructed if they aren't showing a very steep drop off. 

Raymond K Hassel's picture

Another, unbelievably not unrepresentive - 06 tax burden: $38k, 07 burden: $31K, 08 burden: $26K, 09 burden: $1,200.  In this case a retiree, and the drop in 09 is partly due to fact that IRA distribution wasn't required for '09 - taxes would have been closer to $16 if the amount taken in 08 had been taken again in 09 - but still and all - most retirees did not take their MRDs in '09 and revenues have dropped, and they won't pick up again for a whole year because they will all use the safe harbor to send in very small estimated tax payments for '10 - in this case 75% of what was paid in during '09 will be refunded, and 25% will be left - no more money needs to be sent in for a year. 

girl money's picture

From a grass roots level CPA near Wash DC -- nearly 30 years of doing individual and small business returns -- your comment regarding the tax burden plunge on retiree's minimum req dist's makes sense.  They felt rich in 2007 and may also have withdrawn more than their minimum.  In 2009, the year without a required distribution, many left their accounts alone in hopes they would recover.

Thanks for posting from the trenches.

I also help with audit liaison for government contractors and, beginning 18 months ago, have seen commercial businesses setting up as govcons to survive, as their customers have gone away and they see the USGovt as the only spender for quite a while. 

Astute Investor's picture

Another unintended consequence of ZIRP.  A wealth transfer from savers and people who rely on interest income to borrowers, speculators and the profligate.

HarryWanger's picture

So what? Does it matter? If the media repeats it enough, everyone believes it regardless. Then about 6 months from now, it'll be a small story buried in Bloomberg or MarketWatch stating the real numbers and no one will care. It always works that way.

Hell, every CEO, CFO and Bernanke say the same thing. "We're doing great! But...we're not out of the woods yet." They effectively carry over lowered expectations, month after month, quarter after quarter. And each time, the street acts surprised with BTE earnings/economic numbers. Silly game but effective.

Al Huxley's picture

Nobody cares and nobody cares, on and on, and then one day the selloff starts, and suddenly its front page news, every day.  MSM is garbage, not worth the time it takes to read.

johngaltfla's picture

This is the part where the Dunkin Donuts commercial is shot with Turbo Timmy:


"Time to make the short term bonds and lots of coffee!"

ewmayer's picture

Well, playing pumpTard devil's advocate ... 7 of the first 13 weeks YTD are up versus last year, even though the total is down ... so using typical MSFM "data analysis", this translates to (dumb factor ratcheting up at each step, kinda like that kid's game "telephone" where you try to pass a message by word of mouth and it comes out completely garbled at the end):

"withholdings were up in most weeks of 2010 to date"

which translates to

"withholdings up in 2010 versus 2009"

which translates to

"the nascent recovery is on track"

which translates to

"all is well in America"

which translates to

"Obama has saved us, time to bust out the plastic and go on that spending spree you've denied yourself"

which translates to

"Health care reform is already yielding dividends"

Miles Kendig's picture

What a marvelous demonstration of our version of faith based governance in action. 

caconhma's picture

Can things like this happen here in America? Could be since there are many similarities.

Look at reaction of European and American officials: they ask for a "peaceful" conflict resolution. Fucking hypocrites.



Kyrgyz government toppled after deadly clashes, opposition claims The opposition in Kyrgyzstan claims to have seized power after a second day of violent and deadly anti-government protests in the country. There are conflicting reports on casualties.


The government of Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov has reportedly resigned during a second day of violent protests in the capital Bishkek.

The opposition claims it has taken power and is in the process of forming a new government.

"The opposition is in full control of power," Russian news agency RIA quoted an opposition leader, Roza Otunbayeva, as saying.

The AFP news agency quotes another opposition leader, Daniyar Usenov as saying on Kyrgyz radio that Otunbayeva had been appointed to lead the new government.

The whereabouts of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev are unclear, although AFP quotes an airport official as saying Bakiyev had left Bishkek by plane.

Conflicting reports

It is not clear how many people have died so far during the clashes. The opposition claims up to 100 are dead, while the Health Ministry said earlier that 40 people died.

Interior Minister Moldomussa Kongantiyev is also belived to be dead. Opposition activist Shamil Murat told the AP news agency he saw Kongantiyev's dead body after protesters beat him up in the western city of Talas.

Around 5,000 protesters have taken to the streets to demand the resignation of President Kurmanbek Bakiev. The government had earlier declared a nationwide state of emergency and had vowed to "severely" crush the protests.

Wednesday's rallies followed violent protests in Talas, where thousands of protesters stormed a regional government office and held a governor hostage for several hours on Tuesday. Crowds spent the night burning tires in the central square and breaking windows, and on Wednesday about 10,000 people stormed and began looting the town police headquarters.

Hundreds of demonstrators in the city of Naryn stormed government offices there and installed a new governor. Several were wounded in clashes there, opposition activist Adilet Eshenov told the Associated Press.

Corruption and economy key concerns

The umbrella group for opposition parties, the United Opposition Movement, is demanding that Bakiyev remove cronies and relatives from key positions and do something about government corruption.They are also angry about a clampdown on human rights and economic decline in the country, which saw its economy grow by just 2.3 percent compared to 8.4 percent the previous year.

International appeals for calm

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has called on Bishkek to "seek a dialogue" and has offered its help in solving Kyrgyzstan's problems.

The United States has also condemned the violence.  "We urge all parties to show respect for the rule of law and resolve differences in a peaceful orderly and legal manner," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.

A statement by the German foreign ministry echoed those concerns.


Burnbright's picture

I guess that's what happens when your police force doesn't use tanks, stun guns, riot gear, tear gas, shotguns loaded with bean bags, oh and heat ray vechiles.


seabiscuit's picture

Let's not forget about their sonic weapons used in Pittsburgh against our populace in the last year. I actually heard a Russian reporter in a bar during that demonstration say that this could not be America!

I moved my money to a small local credit union. We need to do what each of us can, and even if in small ways, starve the beast.

Alienated Serf's picture

We just care about our base over there, vital for supplying troops in afghanistan.

Grappa's picture

And to keep the poppy seeds rolling...

caconhma's picture

regardless of weaponry police and army may have, killing their own people, their brothers, and sisters is avery touchy issue since police and the army can easily change sides and support the revolution. 

finally, do not forget that revolutionary people are always very brutal.


Rainman's picture

These are the Bolsheviks of which you speak....circa 1915. Surely this could never be the fate of Amerika.

berlinjames02's picture

Fuck me... misposted again!

Astute Investor's picture

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it."

- Adolf Hitler -

Hephasteus's picture

God is good, god is great.

His love for you is his bait.

An offering for his generosity, the reward is generosity of hate.

The path to his kingdom is narrow filled with things you did wrong,

because his righteousness no matter what you do makes him strong.

He won't be critiSIZED to fit into harmony.

He uses egotistical fucks as his army.

They treat you like dirt, love to hurt.

His stupid big reward is living outside the law.

But only if you join his army as it's claw.

He'll carefully damage you in steps to make you small.

He has the biggest guns. He's having a ball.

He's stupid and lame but knows how to get you to take the blame.

He is perfect sadism. Quelling every rebellion.

He has the best lies to keep you coming back for more.

He doesn't care if it works on everybody.

He'll take what he can get and keep trying for more.

Till people stop walking through the door

with quoth the raven. NEVERMORE.

berlinjames02's picture

Mispost... disregard.

HungrySeagull's picture

Aww damn. Now I need to stop by Human Resources to ink in additional withholding like a good worker drone.

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