Income Tax is a Set Up

 Yes, you read that correctly but, hear me out.
THE TIMELINE You work an entire fiscal year and with every paycheck you are guaranteed to see federal and sometimes state tax withholdings. For a moderate price, you pay your government in exchange for your citizenship. Eh. It is what it is.

Fast forward your timeline, and here we are in February. That beloved time of the year when we all receive a beautiful gift: W2. This paper document is the very first step into reclaiming those dollars you shelled out to the government all year.

After due processing, waiting and a convenient direct deposit you come up on a couple thousand dollars. Finally, you’re reunited with your own money.

Now, I don’t know about you but I’ve done the math. Those few thousand dollars are merely a portion of what you’ve paid over the year. But, for whatever reason, this feels like “free” money.

And even with all these facts, none of these are the “set up”. The actual scam comes into play right after you’ve received that long overdue direct deposit. It’s the thing most Black Americans do so well: spend. That’s right the set up of income tax season is the way we, as a unit, choose to use our “newly” founded wealth. Wastefully.

With that, here’s what NOT to do with your federal tax return:
  • Purchase a foreign whip with 200,000 miles on it because it’s cool to say you have a BMW
  • Hair weaves. Ladies, this is not an investment despite how many beauty bloggers try to convince you. Also, include any other vain none equitable commodity.
  • Use it all to pay off debt. This initially seems like a great idea but, what happens when you run low on cash again? Another loan?
  • Blow it on an event that has absolutely no return. For example, a strip club or the fourteenth trip to Miami just so that you can post “take me back” pictures for a year.
Here’s a few things you should do with your return:
  • Invest. Bonds, stocks or whatever is your preference to long term investments.
  • Down payment on an equitable asset. Not everyone is ready to purchase a home or land but, income tax is a good time to catch a lump sum.
  • Save it. Put it into a savings account and catch some of those interest returns.
  • Pay a portion of your debt, save a little and then treat yourself. Invest some money into your mind, body and soul. Self care is so essential.
In all seriousness, taxes in general are a huge scam that unfortunately all of us have to deal with. The key is managing well; be smart and make decisions that set you up for the better.