Dear IRS: I’m not paying you anymore.

November 12, 2012 · 10 comments


Screw taxes. I’m over them. So over them, in fact, I decided I’m not paying the IRS another penny. Yeah, that’s right, not one freaking penny. I went in to my online payroll system a few weeks ago and jacked my exemptions up to 18, which means I am effectively paying no more federal income tax. That’s how I roll. 

“But Ninja, you work for the federal government, wont you get fired for not paying taxes?”

No. I won’t. 

….

Okay, time for me to stop pretending like I’m a hardened criminal. I’m not paying any more federal income tax because I’ve already paid enough in taxes to cover my projected tax obligation. 

That’s right, I’m off the hook with the IRS. A few times a year I use this handy-dandy IRS withholding calculator and compare what I’m paying in taxes to what I should owe in taxes. Seeing that the end of the year is less than 60 days away, I felt it was important I made sure no surprises were coming my direction.

I don’t know why, but for some reason Girl Ninja’s school only takes out like 4% of her gross pay for federal income tax. It’s really annoying because it should be more like 18%.  All year I’ve been overcompensating by paying an excessive amount of federal income tax on my salary to make sure we didn’t fall short and get hit with penalties. Turns out I was paying so much extra we were predicted to get a fat refund; to the tune of $2,500.

Important question to ask oneself: Why the heck would I wait until February-ish to get that money back, when I can change my deductions and start getting paid back now?

With the click of a few buttons, I claimed 18 exemptions (as suggested by the IRS calculator) and eliminated all of my federal income tax payments. That’s $900/month extra going to my bank account. Couldn’t have come at a more opportune time with Xmas right around the corner.

I personally have an issue giving the government more than required. I know they would never give me an interest free $3,000 loan, so I’m not about to give them one. Think about it like this, would any of you give me $250/month for the next 12 months if I gave it all back to you a year from now? Heck no you wouldn’t, so why do you do that for Uncle Sam?

Have you predicted your estimated tax obligation this year? Are you expecting to owe or be owed? How much? 

random fun fact: WA state does not have state income tax ;)

{ 10 comments }

1 StackingCash

Whoa, way to late to try out that calculator. Maybe next time. I never really considered the exact details of what I might owe or get back when April 15th rolls around. We usually tend to owe a little, so I’m never really too concerned about giving the goverment an interest free loan.

NV does not have a state income tax either, however it does tax us in other ways such as the car registration tax, sales tax, and property taxes. I think it’s balanced out in the end regardless if I had a state income tax or not. If the state wants your money, it will get it one way or another…

2 Lutus

Ninja, I would be willing to try your approach but my taxes are SO FREAKING COMPLICATED that I would rather just wait. My deductions, small business, multiple income streams all make for a mess, not too mention the little human we had this year (another deduction).

Q: Why are taxes so complicated?
A: Politicians

3 Michael

Back in the day of getting 5-6% interest on savings accounts, I could see this, but nowadays, I don’t even see it as worth going through all the trouble associated with making sure that you don’t get a refund. Between now and the time you file and get your return processed, that $2,500 will be something like a whopping $2,505? Is the $5 worth having to change your withholding not just once but twice (you’ll have to adjust it again)? Maybe, but it’s definitely different than back in the day when you could have gotten $100 or more over the course of a year with that money.

Why don’t you adjust Girl Ninja’s withholding to take out an additional fixed amount per paycheck? Also, make sure her status is Married, not Single, because if she’s making a smaller amount of money and has the Single status, it will assume she won’t pay much and will only take out that small amount. Used to happen with my wife’s income as well.

4 savvyfinanciallatina

I’m not really sure how much we are going to owe since it’s our first year working full time. I only started working full time in July and my husband in September. I, also, have some side income from a part time job. I’m just hoping we don’t owe money!

5 Larry

I personally have an issue giving the government more than required. I know they would never give me an interest free $3,000 loan, so I’m not about to give them one.

This is a commonly offered argument, but it has overtones to my ears of resentment against Big Government, and it’s secondary to the real purpose of withholding (and for that matter estimated taxes), which is to ensure that the taxpayer is able to meet his or her annual tax obligations and is not faced with excessive interest or penalties. And since IRS interest and penalties can be onerous, withholding is if anything beneficial to the taxpayer.

Ideally I suppose one would have a situation where nothing is owed or refunded on the 1040. But given the complexity of the tax code, it would take some pretty intricate tax planning to arrive at that result. But in addition to adjusting one’s withholding, there are other and often better tax planning strategies – such as increasing your charitable deductions at a time you’re earning more income, or taking advantage of education or child credits, or offsetting taxable capital gains against capital losses, etc.

Personally, I don’t play around with my own withholding because I always get a small refund from the federal (under $1000 these days) but always have to pay New York another $200 or so. This is most likely because we’re a high-tax state, and the deduction I take for NY taxes on federal Schedule A is obviously not allowable on the state return.

6 Amy

I figured mine about 3 weeks ago! I’m also overpaid to the good ol’ government and made adjustments with my state and federal withholdings. I figured what I should be at for next year and will adjust in January.

It’s really a simple process to change your withholdings. For me – fill out a new form and send it to H.R. I’d say that 2 minutes of form filling time is worth keeping my money now instead of getting a chunk later.

7 Chris

I’ve never gotten a refund before. I always owe money (self employed!) so now that I have myself a good ol full time gig according to that link I will be overpaying by $350. To me, that’s pretty much right on target! I’d rather overpay that much than owe those crooks anything more! They have a nasty habit of trying to destroy your life.

8 krantcents

Personally, I prefer to keep my cash flow miore even throughout the year. Also, you shou should exceed 10 exemptions because the IRS flags those people. They may do nothing with the information, but I like staying under the radar.

9 Brian

I always end up with a so-so refund from the feds (should be higher this year since we had a baby) and owe the state a bunch of money. So I just do what I always do and withhold at the single rate with 0 exemptions. I have a fairly sizeable amount of income that I don’t have withholding from so this helps me out there and since there is a good chance that dividends are going to be taxed different next year I probably will continue to do what I have been doing.

Also the government did give people a $7500 interest free loan…. they just had to buy a house to get it.

10 Cassi

That is awesome! Taxes are such a hassle so at least now you don’t have to deal with them for another year! Good luck with your extra money!

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