2020 was an interesting year for me financially. I overpaid my taxes because I figured it was better to be safe than trigger reasons for an audit and cause unnecessary pain. The amount I overpaid was significant because I forgot that I was getting credit for the alternative minimum tax I had already paid in previous years. We also are getting credits for the plug-in Chrysler Pacifica we bought.
I submitted our taxes digitally on March 11th. On June 9th, almost three months later, I got my refund.
The IRS is nice enough to give you a website where you can track your return status. The statuses are… “We don’t have it,” “We do have it,” and “You will now get your money.” You can also call an automated system that returns the same results and then hangs up on you. They are so bleeding edge that they have a mobile app… which tells you the same things.
I have never had issues with the IRS before. My refunds, when I got them, would come within a week or so. I never spent too much time trying to optimize my taxes because the refunds were never that large, and mentally, seeing a minor cash windfall in your account is a nice feeling. That level of trust has now been broken. It’s hard to support a government willing to hold on to your money for three months and not offer any explanation.
The government obviously prioritized getting people their stimulus checks, and I can respect that. I do not desperately need the money, and those who are struggling to pay bills and get food should have easier access to the funds than myself. I wanted at least an acknowledgment of the delay and a realistic timetable. Inflation is running rampant, and the money I gave them less than a year ago has significantly less buying power today.
I’m assuming I was tossed into the pile of “this person wants a lot of money,” and therefore, I need manual oversight of a real person to verify the data. The government knows that I already sent them a lot of money in taxes, and I’m not asking for something more than I gave them. It’s like when you’re at a casino, and they call over the pit boss to make sure that they’re willing to take on this huge bet. But a lot less fun.
I was not alone in my waiting, but that did not give me much solace.
I now fully expect to drop this money in the stock market it at it’s peak and watch it vanish.