Then again you just might not be worrying. You might be sitting in your living room, in a red bean bag chair in your underwear surrounded by empty corn dog containers and groaning in delight. That's because you've received your tax refund and spent it on lottery tickets. Most people would put it away or maybe buy a washer and dryer, but no, you spent the first seventy bucks on "Spicy Hot Cash" scratch off tickets down at the local WaWa. But you are no dummy. You only won $3 back from all those scratch offs, and so you decided to do something concrete with them. You decided to invest the rest of your refund in something whose results would be tangible and wonderful. Several hundred dollars worth of corn dogs, a days worth of bathroom trips and a "Revenge of the Nerds" marathon and you've spent all your tax refund.
See, these two scenarios have equal chance of being true because there are two types of people. There are those who get their W-2 forms and immediately run down to the nearest H&R Block. Once there, they realize that it's 8 pm on a Friday, so they run home, driving about 90 on the city streets, possibly plowing through people yards and privacy hedges, and they get their camping gear, because they have to get there TEN MINUTES AGO so that they can get their taxes done and get their refund. Oh yeah, there are tons of you people out there. By the time Monday morning rolls around there are like fifteen tents out there with people waiting and it looks like a college campus when the students are camping out for tickets to the big football game. 17 seconds after the deadbolt slides open at the tax office you are in there signing away, cutting a check, giving your bank account number and DEMANDING that your forms are e-filed IMMEDIATELY! Because you spent your refund three days before Duane in payroll even sat down with his transparent green visor and short sleeved dress shirt and narrow tie to start putting the numbers together. You are in a tizzy waiting for your W-2 to arrive and you are in a tizzy until that automatic deposit goes through and you can pay off your bookie.
Then there's your brother. He's the one standing in line at the post office, complaining about the cold on the local TV news. Oh yeah. That's him. He got his W-2 and promptly set it in the stack of papers propping up the short leg on his coffee table. He sat down to start working on his taxes at about 4:45 pm on April 14th and by the time he had figured out what deductions he needed and fished out his W-2 from under the table it was time to watch wrestling. So then all the sudden he was at lunch at work and realized what was going on and hastily scratched some numbers on the form, wrapped it up in an old envelope that his cell phone bill came in and sent it off to the IRS, although I am not sure that writing "IRS, general Delivery, Washington DC" in Sharpee on the clear plastic window will get it where it needs to go. But he's in line and as long as the nice lady behind the counter cancels the stamp with her postmark then it's good to go, isn't it? He's hoping that his refund check comes by August and as soon as he gets home he is gathering every receipt he can find for the inevitable audit.
And that's it. Well, not it. But that's about 98% of the people in the US. I try to fall somewhere in between. Usually around February I start finding someone to do my taxes for me because otherwise I will screw them up royally. And that's okay. The US Tax Code is the single largest book ever printed, and it comes with a pair of scissors with which the reader can stab themselves in the face because once they get to page 5 that's pretty much what they all want to do. And so eventually my money will come, it will be direct deposited, and I will be confused as hell as to why I am suddenly rich. No big deal. And next winter the cycle will start again. And before you know it it will be April 15 and we can start all over again.