Every U.S. IT Insights Blog reader within the sound of our keyboard has doubtless already completed and filed his or her federal income tax return. It would be plain irresponsible, after all, to wait until the last second to square things up with Uncle Sam. No doubt if we were to drive past the local post office after 11 p.m. tonight, there would not at all be an unusually long queue of vehicles waiting to use the all-hours mail drop to be assured of getting an April 15 postmark.
One reason, actually, that people typically file sooner rather than later is to get their income tax return more quickly. Everyone like to have a little "surprise" bonus cash show up in the mail, after all. It's like putting on a pair of pants from the bottom of the pants drawer, or pulling out a jacket that you haven't worn for a while from the back of the coat closet, and finding a $50 bill in the pocket. Free money! Really, that's as close to winning the lottery as most people will ever get.
Of course, the weird thing about income tax "returns" is that you basically pay the government more than you need to for months via withholding. Then, after a whole year has gone by, Uncle Sam is all like, "Heh-heh, what do you know, we did the math wrong. You don't owe us as much as you thought you did! Here, have some of it back." This is 2019, people. Are we really that bad at math, or at accounting software, that we still need to keep up this inefficient rigamarole?
The answer, of course, is no. We're not that bad at either math or accounting software. We're just bad at having a simple, readily comprehensible tax code that makes it possible to accurately predict the total amount that will be owed from one year to the next. So everybody is like, "Ugh, just ballpark it, and we'll figure things out later." Which sort of feels like the way that a lot of stuff gets done in America, but that's probably, as they say, an entirely different conversation.
The point of all this, at any rate, is that hopefully you're one of the lucky ones whose withholding is out of whack, and so you have a fat bonus check (so to speak) about the land in your bank account. Why not use some of that money to invest in your future by getting an IT certification? IT jobs pay well and IT skills are in demand. Maybe you'll even become a programmer and someday write a program that accurately calculates taxes. We know of an agency that could use one of those.