Where’s My Refund?
Beginning way back when my children grew old enough to work ‘on the books’ and thus earn enough taxable wages to ‘voluntarily’ pay their (Social Security and Federal/State/County-Local income) taxes and ‘voluntarily’ file a Federal Income Tax return (oh sweet puberty) I’ve handled the annual spring rite of documenting their IRS 1040 wage slavery by filing their tax returns for them. This ‘voluntary’ documentation always includes spouses and/or girl-boyfriends….and occasionally even the parents of spouses and/or girl-boyfriends. Please don’t try this at home boys and girls.
Now that the electronic filing option has trickled down from the IRS to nearly all the states and now that the various retail software tax preparation products (such as Tim Geithner’s TurboTax) have worked out most of their bugs and are reasonably reliable, the time I spend discharging my now permanent parental duties is tolerable. Best of all I gain the satisfaction of knowing that it’s all done right…….or at least that I’m the only one screwing up my children in preparation for the return of the (Government) debtors prison. Ah, but the good old days (remember the mid nineteenth Century?) seem to be lurking just around the corner. But I digress.
Several of my children have simple tax returns that encompass traditional W-2’s from established employers who also ‘voluntarily’ withhold my kid’s portion of their ‘voluntarily’ tax offerings. (How kind of them to help.) With little to no investment income, capital gains, real estate or trust income or any other complications, their returns are relatively simple affairs. (Thank you IRS.) One of my kids is married with a child, which means she and her spouse claim the child credit and a slice of the earned income bribe……..err………credit given to low wage earners to entice them back onto the wage slave hamster wheel for one more year. But I digress……again.
My children generally receive tax refunds and I dutifully file as early as possible in order to ensure that they’ll soon have fat wallets stuffed with ‘free money’ that immediately burns a hole in their pockets or purses. Nothing warms a parents cockles quite like getting a text message from their child informing them that s/he just received her/his IRS tax refund, a text sent while shopping for 55” LCD TV’s in Best Buy. (“Thanks Dad, you’re the greatest.”) Unfortunately we begin to lose our children to the PONZI’s consumer frenzy by the time they’re old enough to watch TV, meaning 2 or 3 years of age. BTW I’ve heard real, supposedly intelligent, people [“not my kids” says proud CD] call their tax refund ‘free money’, but I’d rather call it a partial return of our ‘voluntary’ tax donations. But (sadly) I digress once more.
While my small circle of friends and family hardly constitutes a statistically significant sampling of the average American Taxpayer, unless of course I’m the BLS (Bureau of Lies and Statistics) who appear to count the same baker’s dozen-dozen (a baker’s gross just in case you want to know) of wage slaves over and over and over while consistently dropping a few here and there (‘on’ accident I suspect) it seems that I’m observing a frightening trend playing out in real time.
In the interest of high brow economic research I wish to gauge the response of my Zero Hedge readership in order to increase the sample size of my tax refund survey to 25 or 30. That way I can publish an ‘expert’ paper describing the state of the IRS tax refunding efforts and its relationship to the ongoing paper (fiat) chase. I plan to sell it to various economic think tanks and Pulitzer Prize economic fiction writers for several bazillion Bernanke Bucks and retire to a remote island in the Bahamas with Mrs. Cog where they don’t have Internet or phones, but they do have several dozen precious metal dealers and coin shops. But I……umm………never mind.
Simply put, for at least two years running now, and maybe even three (pardon my pun, but an old man and his memory soon part) it seems that those cuddly little wage slaves of mine who are expecting smaller tax refunds (say less than $1,600) get them very quickly, usually within 8-10 calendar days. But the ones who regularly receive refunds above $3,500 have been forced to wait more than 21 days two (three?) years running.
In fact, this year the IRS will make my daughter wait 25 days from the day of the IRS’s acknowledged receipt of her electronic filing. At least that’s the delivery promise the IRS just made on their “Where’s My Refund?” web page. This despite the fact that the IRS claims you should receive your direct deposited e-filed tax refund in 8 to 15 calendar days, with some waiting up to 3 weeks (21 days for the math impaired). Hmmmmm……very interesting.
Now……to be crystal clear this is all supposition on my part. And I’m absolutely certain that if someone asked the IRS spokesperson to comment (not me because I’m already suffering under a life-time red flagged IRS audit alert) s/he would provide a perfectly coherent and reasonable explanation for why the larger refund seems to run late several years running while the smaller refunds are quickly paid. I bet there’s a perfectly innocent explanation for this little quirk and I’m nothing but a silly Chicken Little making a too-big-to-fail mountain out of a wage slave mole hill.
However, considering the humongous budget deficits the US Government is currently running (until of course Baghdad (Bob) Ben Bernanke [of “We’re not printing money” fame] runs out of green electronic ink and fuel for his helicopter) on top of lagging ‘voluntary’ tax collections, I was sort of wondering if the Treasury might actually be pulling a fast one here. After all, if you’re running a bit short this month and only have $1,000 on hand to pay bills amounting to $2,000, I bet you’d gather up the largest pile of small bills you could find that equaled $1,000 and pay them before you paid the one or two larger bills that amounted to the same $1,000.
The rather rational theory for doing so is that you would rather receive one (or two) phone calls from the larger creditors than phone calls from five, six or more smaller creditors. I suspect the IRS/Treasury feels the same way…..particularly when government’s only real purpose now-a-days is to continuously kick the Ponzi can down the road while maintaining the illusion for all the wage slaves that “it’s getting (so much) better all the time”.
I find it interesting that my daughter’s refund info suddenly showed up on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ web site two days after the Treasury sold $35 Billion of Two Year Treasury bonds, one day after they sold $35 Billion of Five Year Treasury bonds and just before they sold $29 Billion in Seven Year Treasury bonds. Those (larger) tax refunds must have been piling up somewhere in a corner stinking up a storm. But of course that’s just a coincidence……….right?
Regardless, I can’t help but smile when I realize that my daughter and son-in-law might just be in on a tiny little slice of that sweet PONZI Treasury action. I only wish I could get in on the fun myself. Where’s My Refund Uncle Sam?
So what say you fellow Hedgers? Have you also noticed a lag in your voluntary tax refund or is all well on Capitol Hill and free money trickles from the gist mill to your too-big-to-fail checking account with no delay? Sound off in the comment section to let me know. And remember, it’s a voluntary tax you pay each and every day and Uncle Sam is very grateful for your donations.
P.S. I can’t wait until the day (coming very soon I’m afraid) when, instead of a cash tax refund, Uncle Sam sends you a custom made-to-order 100 Year U.S. Government Zero Coupon Bond (helpfully denominated in the exact amount of your refund) with a sticky note attached informing you that as a Red Blooded American you should be proud to buy American (Fleecing) Bonds.
Besides “that’s just as good as money Sir, those are I.O.U’s”…..just not negotiable for 100 years because, well, we’re broke at the moment and for the foreseeable future as well.