Thursday, February 3, 2011

I got a refund!

As we're nearing peak tax filing season, it always puzzles me when people are thrilled to discover they are getting a substantial tax refund. Does this sound familiar? "I just filed my taxes and found out I'm getting a (x) dollar tax refund!"

A tax refund simply means that you have withheld too much, or overpaid the amount of tax actually due for the year. In effect, you are giving Uncle Sam an interest free loan. A balance due means you have withheld too little, or underpaid the amount of tax actually due. Regardless, at the end, you are going to pay the same amount of tax.

I don't know about you, but I prefer keeping my money as long as possible...that means I'm happy (ok maybe not happy, but content) when I find out that I need to write a check to the Department of the Treasury. Please note that there are underpayment penalties, so be sure to monitor your withholdings!