February 27, 2014

The Johnson Family thanks you for your support.

Hope blood pressure isn't a worry for you.  If so, you might want to skip this post.

Let's start with the basics of the story:
Danielle Johnson flipped through tax forms earlier this week at her kitchen table, the only furniture in her apartment. Empty mattresses on the bedroom and living room floors indicate the number of kids away in school...
...She cares for her own children and her little sisters left by her late mother. She has six dependents altogether.
Johnson styles hair to pay the rent.  
Okay, then.  Single mom, caring for her younger sisters as well as children of her own.  Marginally but gainfully employed.  No doubt receiving public assistance; probably Social Security benefits for the sisters, likely food stamps, maybe WIC.  I can live with that.  She has a job, she appears to live frugally, trying to do the best she can.

It stinks what apparently happened to her, someone fraudulently filed a tax return using her SSN, and they got her refund.  And, the IRS told her it would take up to 6 months to get it straightened out.  This sort of tax fraud is growing by leaps and bounds, and, I would imagine, is even more pronounced in low income areas where con artists can masquerade as tax preparers and can probably scam a bunch of people in a short period of time, moving on before anyone is wise to what has happened.

So, I feel for Ms Johnson, I really do.  What makes my blood boil is this:
She poured out her story and her tears.
“These are my original tax forms,” she said. “I was getting back $8,304.00”
"I made $17,493 dollars," she said, pointing to a line on her return. 
What is your guess on the withholding amount on her W-2?  $18k with 6 dependents.  Sheesh, do you think any tax was withheld at all?  

She was/is getting a refund equal to nearly half of her annual wages.  How can we even call it a tax 'refund' if you are getting back more than you ever paid in?  Heck, $8,304 is probably more than she will pay in taxes over the next decade, and she is raking this type of change in every freaking year.  Shouldn't she have to claim that as income?    

People like you and me are funding all of the assistance programs, as well as paying into the big pot that gives stacks of cash to people like Ms Johnson.    

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