If you are like most Americans, you are probably terrified of owing the government money during tax season. From the time I was 16 years old, it was ingrained in me that it was better to let the government take out the maximum amount, and hope for a huge refund at the end of the year.
Well, those days are over. I'm finally done giving the government so danged much of my paycheck. I need that money and I need it NOW.
According to The Motley Fool, the average American gets back a refund of almost $3000 a year. That's $250 a month you could be keeping for yourself and using as you see fit. If you're trying to get out of debt like we are, that $250 a month will go a LONG way.
I posted this on a message board recently, and was surprised by the FEAR of some who said they would much rather let the government take too much, rather than risk owing at the end of the year. Uh....what? First of all, you can easily calculate about what your tax liability is going to be for the year. But even if you aren't convinced, you could open a high interest savings account, change your deductions, and sock away that $250 per month to earn compound interest for the year. One, you'd have all that interest built up, but two, you wouldn't have to wait for a refund because it would already be in your account to use, and THREE, even if you miscalculated, and you did owe the government any money, it wouldn't MATTER because you had set the money aside to pay them back! The fear is simply unnecessary.
Check out this calculator. You type in your gross pay, and your current withholding, and what your withholding would be if you changed it. Based on the amount of taxes that were withheld last year, and the amount of credits we qualified for, we could have actually claimed 8, and not given the government ANY money, and we still would have gotten a refund. I'm a little uneasy going that extreme this year, since Jonny will hopefully be working full time starting this summer, and our tax liability will probably change, so instead, I'm going to claim 7 for this year, and see how we look next year, and adjust when our income situation becomes more steady.
Yay for a paycheck raise and a bigger snowball to get out of debt quicker!