I normally try to break even, and have never had to write a check this big before. It is painful.
For years we have gotten refunds, though tax planning and jacking up our withholding exemptions kept the refund amount small, and allowed us to use our money throughout the year, rather than loaning it to the gummint.
My CPA pointed to what he described as an"Imperfect Storm" of life and tax events that combined to nail us this year. And, this tax day serves as an excellent benchmark for planning purposes to make sure we aren't in the same position next year.
What chaps my hide the most is seeing the total tax due, and trying to correlate what government services my family benefits from that justify the amount. I can't come up with much.
Financial experts often suggest that people with limited budgeting willpower use an envelope system to divvy out their money. This involves putting cash into categorized envelopes, and paying for the specific expenses out of those envelopes. When the envelope is empty, you aren't supposed to refill it from the ATM, or borrow from another envelope. One of the reasons this method tends to work is because there is a psychological effect felt from paying cash for items.
I have long advocated for an elective system wherein tax payers can choose from an a la carte menu of government services and agencies that they want to support. If you choose not to pay into the welfare system, then you simply can't ever receive benefits. All the bleeding heart liberals that want to support deadbeats are likely to think twice if they have to fork over their own cash to do it.
Withholding taxes (and SS and Medicare) from paychecks has made our working class ignorant and apathetic with regard to how big and greedy our government has become. If every company had to pay their employees in cash each payday, and then the employees had to step up to the next window and pay the government from their fistful of cash, there would be a revolution.