How wildly appropriate that we chose today to discuss your federal income taxes — Friday the 13th. Oh, my.
Actually, there’s never really a good time to talk about taxes, but we feel obliged to do so, because the filing deadline for getting your 2017 1040 in the mail is just around the corner.
Taxpayers get a wee break this year because the federally mandated filing date of April 15 falls on a Sunday, so the feds are giving us until next Tuesday to meet the dreaded filing deadline. Isn’t that nice.
Here’s another interesting coincidence — April is national Stress Awareness Month. Gee, wonder why?
The personal-finance website WalletHub conducted one of its usual comprehensive surveys of which states have the most-stressed-out residents, and California didn’t do all that badly.
Californians are close to being the least-stressed Americans when it comes to the average number of hours worked each week, in divorce rates, job security and number of psychologists per capita, which, in and of itself, says a lot about local stress levels.
However, we are third from the top of the most-stressed list when it comes to housing affordability. That is a thorn in the side of every community on the Central Coast, and almost certainly the cause of a lot of stressful days.
WalletHub’s researchers also looked into general tax issues, and how California stacks up against other states. It’s not difficult to guess that because of their list of grievances against the federal government, Californians don’t get much of a break when it comes to return on investment of federal taxes paid.
Overall, only two states’ residents are worse off when it comes to return on investment of federal tax dollars. In other words, Californians only get a small percentage of the federal tax dollars they pay returned in the form of federal funding, programs and services. This state also ranks 48th worst in terms of federal dollars spent on infrastructure upgrades and anti-pollution measures.
One of President Trump’s singular accomplishments was getting the Republican-led Congress to approve a new tax code, which takes effect this tax year, and will be what you sweat over on 2018 IRS returns next year.
WalletHub has ascertained the overall tax burden of the reformed tax code, and while many politicians insist Californians are getting the worst of it, that’s not quite the case.
In overall tax burden, California ranked a surprising 10th, not “the worst” as so many politicians claim. But when you look at just the income tax burden, we creep a lot closer to the worst, in the fifth spot overall.
California is generally in the middle of the 50-state-comparison pack with regard to property tax burden, and in total sales and excise taxes.
All this may not mean a lot to you, if you’re still trying to get your facts and figures together to fill out your 1040 and get the check in the mail by midnight next Tuesday. Meanwhile, chances are if you are anticipating a refund, your tax forms were mailed months ago.
The filing that is required by next Tuesday will be the swan song for the tax rules that have driven American stress levels for decades. The new tax code made its entrance with much political fanfare, and we all have to wait and see if such ballyhoo is justified.
For the time being, refund-receivers can kick back and relax on a mid-April weekend. Those who are still filling out 1040s can, well, we say good luck to you.