STUMP » Articles » Taxing Tuesday: Meep is Done with 2018 Taxes » 12 March 2019, 06:24

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Taxing Tuesday: Meep is Done with 2018 Taxes  


12 March 2019, 06:24

But I’m not done with Taxing Tuesday!

(Seriously, NY, the state I actually live in, lagged the feds and CT by a week in getting me my refund.)

The amusing thing (to me) is that Mint, a financial info aggregator run by Intuit (aka the TurboTax company), emailed me after I received my refunds with the following come-on:

Nice tax refund!


NY State Tax

That’s a sweet chunk of change!

Mint suggests investing a windfall like this because it may lose value in a checking or savings account, thanks to inflation. If you want to potentially grow your return, consider investing with Stash.

Then there was the ad for Stash below.

Yes, the email had the real tax refund amount where I put the #s.

No, this is not a windfall. And no, I’m not putting it into savings… I’m paying down debt, meaning I’m reducing my leverage. My net worth changes by exactly 0 as a result. But nobody gets rich by me not being in debt.


I’ve decided to take a step back this week and look at the tax filing stats from the IRS. Let’s just start out simple with returns filed, with and without professional tax preparers. The data set are here, and I decided to compile them through this specific week so that we have year-to-year comparisons. I will extend this to full year at some point, but not for right now. The most recent release was for March 1, 2019 vs March 2, 2018. The info I have goes back to 2010. I will compare the first March date for each year.

First, total number of returns… using the default for Excel:

What happened in 2013?! (oh wait, these are off by up to 6 days)

Also, not started the axis at 0 is a bit misleading. Let’s try something less misleading:

Still, something did happen in 2013. This is what happened.

Now, let’s look at efiled returns:

Here is the percentage of the e-filed returns that came via tax pros:

Here is the percentage of returns that were e-filed:

So, this is not the “full season” of tax filings yet. But from the stats I’m seeing, it looks like that each year, more and more people do their own tax returns via e-filing.

Frankly, with respect to return activity, it looks on trend for 2019 compared to prior years. There really was a bobble in 2013, but it seems that the drop in use of tax pros is actually in line with what has happened in prior years.


I already wrote about Pritzker’s tax proposal here. But I didn’t get to the heart of what this is about: amending the state constitution so that it will be easier to ratchet up state income taxes later.

The specific proposal doesn’t fill the Illinois budget hole in any meaningful way.

The whole point is to convince at least 60% of voters (and, obviously, all the Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly) that they should allow a state constitutional amendment allowing such a graduated income tax.

As Jim Day wrote on Sunday:

Of course, if the amendment passes and Pritzer’s proposed rates do not produce sufficient revenue, he and legislators could — and certainly would — boost the rates and change income categories to meet their revenue goals.

Pritzker argues that kind of flexibility is necessary for effective governance. But his position bolsters critics’ claims that he’s asking voters to sign a “blank check” progressive tax plan.

That’s it. It’s just a foot in the door.

It’s so entirely foreseeable, I do not want to hear “But how could we have known this would happen?” from the Illinoisians.

But then, they should’ve known what they were getting with Pritzker.

ADDITIONAL: Very apt Eric Allie cartoon.



See you next week!

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