I Love That Big Tax Refund

By: Terry J. Rigg

A Disclaimer of Sorts: No matter whether you file your own taxes or have a tax professional prepare and submit your taxes, You The Taxpayer are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of the return. Any questions, comments, extra taxes or penalities will be directed to you. Please consider any and all tax advice with this in mind, including this article. I will give you all of the resources you need to check this out for yourself at the end of the article.

No, this is not another article with a little know tax break the IRS is trying to hide. This is a very legitimate way to put extra income in your paycheck.

Many people can't wait to file their tax return in anticipation of having all that money to spend at one time. Where else can the average person be forced to save. In most cases this is the only way they can save.

If the federal government were in banking they would probably be in violation of the law. They receive funds from citizens and are not required to pay any interest on that money. This may sound like I'm down on the government, but I am not, not for that anyway. This is because the IRS has a way for you to get that money in your paycheck throughout the year.

Starting with the 1998 tax year , anyone that owes taxes and has children is eligible to deduct up to$400 for 1998 and $500 after the 1998 tax year, for each child. Folks this comes right off of any taxes you owe. This is known as The Child Tax Credit. It is probably the biggest cut in taxes the average citizen has had in years. Just a note: You can only deduct this if you owe taxes and you can only deduct up to the amount of taxes you owe.

Example: If you owe $200 then you can only claim $200. Also, this does not apply to self-employment and certain other taxes.

Since The Child Tax Credit became law, tax refunds have skyrocketed. The reason for this is that most people that have federal income tax withheld from their paychecks have not changed their W4 form (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate) with their employer.

Did you know that in certain instances you can claim 9 exemptions for a family of 5? Yes, this is legit. Here is how it breaks down directly from the W4 personal allowance worksheet:

  • Enter "1" for yourself if no one else can claim you as a dependent - 1
  • Enter "1" if you are married, have only one job, and your spouse does not work - 1
  • Enter "1" for your spouse - 1
  • Enter number of dependents (other than your spouse or yourself) - 3
  • (Does not apply to this example) - N/A
  • (Does not apply to this example) - N/A
  • Child Tax Credit:If your total income will be between $23,000 and $63,000 if married, enter "1" for each child - 3
  • Add lines A through G - 9

The above is simply an example and each individual taxpayer should review the form carefully. To check this out for yourself, you need to visit the IRS homepage at . Then go to the bottom of the page and click on forms & pubs. In the menu click on forms and instructions. That page will have a list of IRS forms. Scroll down until you find Form W4 Employees Withholding Allowance. You will need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these forms. This is easily downloaded at:

How much could this mean to a family? Let's take the example of a couple with three kids making $500 per week and only claiming two exemptions. The Federal Withholding from your paycheck would be about $40 per week. If that family were to claim 9 exemptions, there would be no federal withholding. Therefore, just by filling out a new W4, you just gave yourself an 8% pay raise. That is over $2000 more take home pay per year. If you qualify for the Earned Income Credit you may still receive a refund. By the way, you can also receive the Earned Income Credit in your paycheck, but I'll save that for another article.

I can hear a lot of you now. "This guy must be nuts, I'm not giving up that tax refund for him or anyone else. I work hard all year and this is the only time I have a lot of money to spend all at once." I'm sure that most of you won't give up that big tax refund just because you read this article. However, you will come away with the knowledge that this is an option, if you qualify, and a few ideas of how you can you could use that extra money.

There are several things that you could do with that extra money. Let's look at a few of them.

  1. If you need extra money just to buy the essentials, take it and use it.
  2. Put the money in a savings account
  3. If you have a 401k, increase the amount of your contribution
  4. If you have investments, put more money into them
  5. My favorite is to use that money to start a Christmas Club at your bank. By doing this you not only earn interest on your money, but you will have the money when you really need it, just before Christmas. This could also help cut down on using credit cards to buy Christmas. That alone could save you a lot of money.

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