Spring is coming; so is tax day

  • Published
  • By Mike Sanford
  • 934th Airmen and Family Readiness
At this time of year, many people fall into the category of dreading April 15th (although this year it has been extended three days). Paying taxes is nothing new. According to infoplease.com, paying taxes dates back to 1791, where certain items such as tobacco, distilled spirits, and refined sugar were taxed. Our first income tax law was passed by Congress in 1862 in support of the Civil War. In 1895, the U.S. Supreme Court stated income tax was unconstitutional, so it was discontinued. But in 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made income tax permanent, resulting in the individual and corporate income tax.

A question often arises at this time of the year regarding our individual income taxes: do you have to pay in or did you get something back? If you have to pay in, it's because you didn't pay enough to the IRS throughout the year. And if you are getting money back, it's because you paid too much. The IRS would prefer you neither have to pay in nor get anything back. That is the ideal.

As a U.S. citizen, it is our civic duty to pay our taxes and to pay them on time. With a little bit of planning, one could eliminate the problem of having to pay in a large amount. First, and probably the easiest method to simplify your burden is to ask yourself if you've claimed the correct amount on your W-4. Maybe you've claimed too many exemptions and therefore aren't making the correct deduction. Or maybe you haven't claimed enough and are having too much deducted.

Another question you may want to ask is do you have the correct amount of deductions? Claiming your interest on a student loan or mortgage, or having a pre-taxed deduction such as a TSP account or 401k are the most common form of deductions. In some cases, you may not have enough deductions to claim and therefore need to claim the minimum amount as determined by the IRS. Either way, you can still limit your tax burden. You may want to check with a tax consultant to see how you can maximize your deductions. You can also check with your local Airman and Family Readiness Office or check online with Military One Source.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "The only thing guaranteed is death and taxes." Of course, we can't predict when we die, but with a bit of planning, we can predict our tax burden.