The putative U.S. "tax relief"

So I just got this e-mail that linked to a San Diego Union Tribune article (on-line Thursday July 26th) that explained that what I naively thought was a U.S. tax “rebate” is actually an advance on the refund that we hope to get from this year’s taxes. So I go to site and indeed, the IRS is calling them “advance payment checks.” I feel like a damned chump-- I actually thought this would be 600 bucks being actually returned to me from taxes already paid. I don’t know where I got this idea-- I think it has been reported very ambiguously, perhaps purposefully. Is this supposed to temporarily jump-start the economy, which will again slump after we all receive our surprisingly piddling refunds next time? I think if everyone were more aware of the exact nature of this manna from heaven everyone would be damn pissed off. If I may extend this metaphor, it’s like manna with all the nutritional value removed, like Old Testament white bread and cheez whiz.
Sorry that this isn’t more spectacularly ranting-- I’m just very dissapointed and feeling foolish for briefly thinking that there might be some redeeming value to this crappy administration.

Well, I can understand your frustration with this, but frankly, any money that is my hands rather than the government’s is a good thing. Having the government hold on to my money all year (earning interest on it which they get to keep) and then refunding it to me after I file my taxes is not a good investment for me. I can put that money to work right now, and earn whatever interest I can.

I elect to have very little money withheld from my paychecks. I would rather use the money right now and build it, than let the gov hold on to it for months.

I am sitting here with our $600 check right now, and it looks just fine to me. Tax relief is tax relief.

It is an advance on your refund from next year’s taxes, which will be less than they would have been without the tax reduction. The checks are for the reduction of the 15% bracket to 10% (on the first $12,000 of taxable income for joint filers, $6,000 for singles), which is retroactively effective to the first of this year.

So, you get tangible tax relief, and you don’t have to wait until you file your return next April 15 (and wait six weeks) to get the money. This is bad how?

That is, of course, this year’s taxes, for which you file next year.

Ok, so I understand that basically, it’s a one-time thing, in lieu of actually figuring the 10 percent in April, those tables will still be at the 15%; I believed that this 600 bucks was from this last year, and that this 10% cut was going to be permanent. Ok, so it’s not all that bad, but it isn’t as good as I hoped it would be. So I’m a schmuck.

Re-evaluate again, my friend :slight_smile:

The 10% bracket is permanent (at least until 2010, but that’s another story). And, effective July 1, 2001, all other marginal rates (from 28% to 39.6%) are reduced by one percentage point. Effective for tax years 2004 and 2005, there’s another one percentage point reduction, and in 2006 another, except for the wealthy among us, who will see a drop to 35%.

Lots of other goodies in there as well…

I don’t know where you guys are getting your money, but I got the following letter from the IRS:

“We changed your 2000 return. As a result of these changes, you owe $125.45.”

So, you’re saying my return was just fine when I sent it in, but because of these “changes” you’ve so helpfully made, I now have to pay you more? And on top of that, you’re charging me interest because of these changes that you made?

Personally, I won’t believe this “rebate” is real until I see cash in my hands, but if it ever does happen, I know exactly what I’m spending my money on: a giant, pink ass-shaped balloon to moon the closest IRS office with.