Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

States to taxpayers: "IOU a tax refund"

When the government gets "first dibs" on your earnings through income tax withholding, guess what happens if the state decides it needs your money more than you do?

That's right: you get stiffed.

ATLANTA (AP) - Colin Daymude was out of work last year after his business failed and eagerly filed his taxes in mid-January, figuring he'd get his refund sooner. He was wrong.

It took the 44-year-old entrepreneur more than six months to get his $1,300 check—money that he needed to pay living expenses while he worked a few side gigs.

Tax day—April 15—has long since come and gone, but sharp budget cuts and falling revenues have forced many states to delay income tax returns [sic; "refunds" is the word] for months—and left taxpayers longing for their money.

It's happening in Georgia, Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, Maryland, California, etc.

Here in the state of Washington, people who advocate enactment of a state income tax claim that it would provide more "stable" revenue than our existing tax structure. Is this one of the "features" of an income tax that "stabilizes" revenue?

Of course, an income tax would make Washington's tax structure even more "volatile," but you have to admit that being able to delay refunds to people who overpaid their taxes through the withholding system would give the state more money to spend for a while.


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