The weekend approaches and you have big plans, right? First, we have some numbers for you — 1040.
Are you all square with the Internal Revenue Service on your 2018 taxes? No worries, you have several days to file your 1040, thus doing your duty for the national good.
Taxpayers fall into two categories, those who owe the IRS at the end of the year, and those who expect a refund. Chances are, if you’re in that latter group, you’ve received your check from the IRS and spent the money, what there was of it. After all, it was your money in the first place. For those in that first group, well, good luck over the next few days.
Pop quizzes are fun, so here’s one to get your morning off to a fun-loving start: Which state pays the most to the IRS each year?
You know we wouldn’t ask such an easy question if there was a catch. There’s not — it is California. This state’s taxpayers funneled more than $227.5 billion to the IRS last year, almost twice as much in gross tax payments as taxpayers in New York or Texas.
That sort of makes sense, given that California workers have the nation’s second-highest average income. Only workers in the District of Columbia have higher average annual pay, but who would trade California’s splendid weather and visually-pleasing geography for that unmitigated mess in D.C.? Mostly politicians, probably, but they are kind of messed up to begin with.
California residents send more to the IRS each year than the 25 lowest-paying states combined. Again, looking at the list of states with much smaller annual smaller tax payments, most of us wouldn’t want to live there.
All those billions of dollars fleeing from your pocket to the IRS, and what do Californians get in return? The personal finance website WalletHub crunched the numbers, and you’re not going to be happy.
When it comes to return on investment (ROI) — how many federal dollars California receives vs. how many tax dollars we send to Washington — this state ranks a miserable 48th overall. California also comes in a dismal 48th when it comes to federal spending on in-state infrastructure and anti-pollution measures. California does far better in ROI on education (12th overall) and health (18th) in federal dollars received, and a so-so 34th in public safety.
That situation with regard to California getting more tax dollars back from the feds is not likely to improve in the near future, given President Trump’s ongoing disagreement with all things California. In fact, this Democratic-leaning state may be No. 1 on the president’s enemy list.
The average adult taxpayer nationwide pays $5,512 a year in federal taxes, but for most wage-earners, much of that expense disappears in the weekly paycheck deduction, so it’s semi-painless.
As April 15 — it’s a Monday this year — closes in on you, it’s good to know where you stand with regard to your fiscal status with the federal government, and it seems the numbers make it evident that the feds consider Californians to be the nation’s naughtiest stepchildren, deserving of much financial punishment.
As painful as paying taxes may be, doing one’s duty as a taxpayer is critical to the success or failure of our nation. We can bad-mouth the federal agencies and their agents all we like, but the truth is, we could not function as a society without the government we, the people, have created around us.
So pay up — and smile.