In That Which My Habit Is Justified

8 06 2017

Jefferson City

About the DOR’s snail pace in submitting state income tax return refund checks:

It’s why I try to arrange my personal tax business such that, ideally, I slightly owe the Feds and state, or if I wind up getting a refund, it’s an amount so small that I wouldn’t miss it if it never comes.  Because we should be increasingly mentally resigned to “it never comes.”  I’d rather not have what I had this year, owing both institutions rather substantial amounts, but even then, I’d rather owe a lot than get a lot back.  Because, as we’ve been seeing out of Illinois for awhile, and now the problem is presenting in Missouri, and soon it will be the Feds, tight budgets means they have ever incentive to hit the go slow zone when remitting tax refund checks.  Not so coincidentally, we found out a few days ago that the revenue punch isn’t quite strong enough to fund the 2018 FY budget the General Assembly passed last month.

Just as it’s going to be harder and harder to get income tax refund checks, I predict that the annuity recipients of large lottery jackpots will soon start having the same problems with yearly payments.  And don’t look for the judicial system to help you, because judges want the governments they work for to have the cash flow to pay judges’ salaries.  Law enforcement and military will have the same attitude for the same reason.  And I’m pretty sure both the government based in Washington, D.C. and the one based in Jefferson City will easily be able to beat me and my thirty-aught-six in a fight.

So the only thing you can do is what I do.  If you’re dumb enough to play the lottery, i.e. remit the tax on those unwilling or unable to understand probability and statistics, and you happen to win a large jackpot, take the one-time lump sum.

UPDATE

You may be asking right about now:  “But Blogmeister, if they start holding back tax refund checks, then everyone will do what you want and adjusting their withholding so that they can’t get a refund, and this will put governments back to square one in financial terms.”

Ordinarily, you’d think so.

But there’s an explanation about a fact of life and human nature you need to understand.  To set that up, I need to confess something.

I like to write here that I was born 40 years ago.  But that’s all a cover — What really happened in 1977 is that I arrived here from an alien world.  I’ve been spending all that time trying to find someone to fix the transmission on my UFO so I can get on outta here and back to Fezeliniglibauten-9.  You know how that goes, you have to double pop the clutch in order to go from 438th to 439th gear. “Feh,” you may quip, but that’s a really important gear shift I have to make when negotiating curves at the points where stellar gravity wells cancel each other out.  I’ve looked all over this planet for someone who can fix it — I’ve looked all over Area 51, Wright-Patterson AFB, Roswell, New Mexico, to no avail.  Hell, I got so desperate that I even called Art Bell, but not even he could help me.

So, as I’ve been stranded on this rock for the last 40 years, I’ve had lots of time on my hands, and therefore, I’ve done a lot of studying of these sentient beings that call themselves “human beings.”  And one of the many things I’ve learned about them is that they’re gravely fearful to the level of paranoia about being in anything that’s close to long term taxation indebtedness to governments that own and operate prisons.

Okay, all kidding aside, (or am I kidding?), sure, I can and do fiddle around with withholding with the aim of slightly owing the state and Feds in April every year, and I’m sure a small percentage of people would take that habit up if governments quit sending refund checks.  That’s because I’m not paranoid of owing on my tax returns.  However, most above board people are.  I think, even if it became obvious that governments won’t send tax refund checks anymore, most people will still arrange for over-withholding on their paychecks knowing full well that they won’t ever get it back, precisely because they fear tax indebtedness, because they fear Federal and state prison.  (That, and people are always unsure about their cash flow and liquid asset availability at any one moment in time.  If they owe on taxes, then the tax bill and some very important bill will be due at the same time, and they might not have the cash for both.)  And I think governments both know this propensity of human nature and are counting on it.  Most “honest” sorts of people won’t haggle over a few hundred or a few thousand dollars against institutions that own prisons, tanks, supercarriers and nuclear weapons.  Especially if they can be made to think that such haggling will preclude grandma from getting her Social Security check.

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6 responses

8 06 2017
UlricKerensky

It’s disturbingly common now in multiple states. Some of them (Michigan) are now inventing pretexts to not pay out refunds.

If not for the economic importance of the Federal Tax Refund process in keeping lower income households afloat, the Feds would jump into it as well. Notice the debt ceiling only restarted on March 16th…..

8 06 2017
countenance

You’re right about the Feds, and for the fact that the Feds can borrow while it’s far harder for states to have unbalanced budgets and in some cases some states can’t, the hold back refunds thing will be far more a state government thing than a Federal thing. Also note that the EITC has gotten so loose in terms of eligibility in recent years (mainly Bush 43) that it’s basically another welfare check — Notice all the fly by night income tax businesses that have popped up on the wrong side of the tracks. That’s why.

8 06 2017
countenance

One problem with my lottery theory, which I first expounded here a long time ago:

The really big lottery jackpots come off of multi-state games that are cooperative efforts of various state lottery agencies. So this means if someone wins the Powerball and takes the annuity, it would be pretty hard for one state’s financial recalcitrance even to happen, much less to matter. The only kind of games that per-state lottos run by themselves are the scratch-off games and the low jackpot pick 3 pick 4 and low six figure ish lottos. Which come with payoffs that wouldn’t be tempting to hold back in a pinch.

8 06 2017
Nicholas Stix

“That’s because I’m not paranoid of owing on my tax returns. However, most above board people are. I think, even if it became obvious that governments won’t send tax refund checks anymore, most people will still arrange for over-withholding on their paychecks knowing full well that they won’t ever get it back, precisely because they fear tax indebtedness, because they fear Federal and state prison.”

What kind of person thinks like that? Talk about a WRPT!

9 06 2017
Truth-hammer

Do not fear the taxman. He is not bullet-proof. I lived/worked in St. Louis for two years in early 2000’s. Forgot all about Missouri’s nigger welfare, I mean, state income tax, and forgot to file it. Grew up in no state income tax Florida. Had to pay up years down the road. Do not get why people live in states that have state income taxes. I got to Texas as fast as I could. I want as little of my money as possible wasted on niggers, spics, illegal aliens, and colored refugees.

15 06 2017
Solving a Problem Before It Starts | Countenance Blog

[…] I wrote about this kind of thing in this space just a current week ago. […]

It's your dime, spill it. And also...NO TROLLS ALLOWED~!

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