So it is tax time again and everywhere you turn you see a poor, exploited worker standing on the street wearing a faux statue of liberty costume forced to do guerilla marketing for a tax service. You usually have a simple 1040 each year, but since you don’t have time to bother researching (having to contend with the kids and work), you don’t know that you could actually file on the phone or online for free! Plus, the tax code makes your head hurt and American capitalism deludes you into believing that you have to pay for everything, so you decide to have H&R Block or Liberty Tax Service prepare your return.
Of course these tax services have an office right around the corner because everyone knows there is one on every block, especially in poor and working class neighborhoods! So you walk into the office, hand the preparer the tax information you were able to scrap together (in a shoe box no doubt), and when the tax preparer is done, they connivingly convince you that you would benefit from a tax refund loan.
They tell you there is little to no risk and that you can get your tax refund immediately at a “low cost”. However, in true capitalist style, they omit the fact that the IRS is very efficient at processing returns and that you will likely get your refund within a few days so you do not need to get the money right away. Nevertheless, after a while of hearing their lies, you agree to get the loan because you really need the money to pay some bills! Right! Wrong!
Shortly after you receive this loan, you learn that you essentially borrowed money against yourself at an almost 300% interest rate, and your pissed. You used the money from the loan, then you receive your refund from the IRS, and the life that capitalism forces us to live causes you to use that money as well. Eventually you find yourself in a bind because that loan balance never seems to get smaller and you are deep in debt. You wonder how you got in this mess!
Well, as our readers know, the editors of POCO by no means advocate the false pretenses that the United States government puts forth in terms of being a “loving, caring” society. Nevertheless, being that it is tax time and these parasites prey on poor and working class families, we decided to provide this “Tax Time Guide” so that you have access to practical resources that will prevent you from experiencing this horrendous exploitation. We all get so inundated by the headaches that the system can impose through these civil responsibilities that many times people use the daily grind as an excuse not to organize. Whenever possible, we want to provide you with information to alleviate some of these concerns so that you no longer have an excuse and we can get to the business of organizing for a better society!
Remember these 4 things!
1) You do not have to pay to get your taxes done!
2) If time is limited or other circumstances prevent you from using these resources and you find that you must use a tax preparation service, DO NOT get a tax refund loan. The IRS will provide your refund in an expedient and timely manner (just in time for you to pay off or get ahead on those bills!)
3) If you are charged $300 or more for a simple 1040 (i.e. it takes 20 minutes or less to complete) demand an explanation and negotiate a more reasonable price.
4) Tax returns must be filed by April 18th this year! (something about the 15th landing on some special day….blah, blah, motherfuckin blah! As the Stimulator would say over at SubMedia TV)
Please use these resources and be sure to listen to the Against the Grain episode. The host, C.S. Soong, interviews Gary Rivlin who describes, in detail, how these tax preparers are making big money from poor and working class communities.
Volunteer Income Tax Assitance Program: The government has service centers throughout the country where Revenue Agents and other IRS personnel prepare your taxes for FREE! Please believe, this does not mean the government loves you now!! It is a resource that most people do not know about and should be used (while it’s still around)
Self Preparation: If you have a return that only includes minimal wages and a standard deduction, you can prepare them yourself on the phone or using a free online software. You can also use free online software if your return is a little more complicated and includes itemized deductions. These links can help you.
- Telephone Assitance with preparing your return
- Listing of Free online software
- Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
And finally, you can go to www.irs.gov to search for guidance on other issues not included in this guide. The site is actually very comprehensive and useful, use it while you still can!