April 15 – Tax Day

Actually, I don’t have a lot to say about this feared deadline day for income tax. I’ve never made enough money at one time, or in one year, for it to matter. Maybe if I went to a tax preparer, he/she could find deductions and such. The thing is, I usually get a refund. I use the short income tax form. There’s just not a lot of fuss to be made (one of the few benefits of not making a high salary throughout my adult life).

Twenty years ago, I used to set up my payroll deductions so I’d get a fat refund check each year. Everyone scolded me about letting the government use my money interest-free; but this was a way of counting on a little nest-egg for extras, one that wouldn’t be eaten up by car repairs and doctor’s appointments during the preceding twelve months.

Early on I counted on that refund to build up my savings account and give me a little cushion for emergencies. Later, I got the traveling bug and counted on the refund to help finance trips to Ireland, London, and other European destinations. They weren’t fancy vacations — usually typical tourist bus tours — but they were an extravagance unknown in my family and in theory beyond my means. However, I went; and I’ve always been glad I did. It was a final burst of youthful abandon, even though I was in my thirties; and the twists and turns of employment in modern American made me increasingly wary of that kind of spending.

I also needed to increase my regular cash-in-hand, so I adjusted my payroll deductions; but I sure did miss those fat refund checks each spring.

I’m getting a refund again this year. And I blanche when I hear what my more well-to-do relatives pay in taxes. I have to remind myself that they can afford those tax bills because they have so much more money to begin with. Those tax checks they write sound like a fortune to me. By my standards, in fact, they are.

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