What will you do with your tax refund?
A couple of weeks ago, I asked, Should a believer contribute to IRA’s, 401K’s or other retirement accounts? The post generated some interesting comments and discussion. While I still think that some form of retirement savings is a good idea, my financial focus was challenged by that thought: Am I really storing up treasure in heaven? Or am I focused on comfortable life here on earth?
This weekend, I finished the bulk of my tax work. I have just about all of the numbers entered and I am waiting for a few documents to arrive before I submit my final filing through Turbo Tax. It looks like I am going to get a pretty nice refund. I’m not crazy about our government sending all kinds of cash to people like me who are going to get more money back than they paid in the first place, but I accept it as a fact of our country.
You see, we are in a financial situation where we depend on our tax refund, again, I wish that was not the case, but this year, that money will go toward paying off the final portion of my school loans and the rest of a 0% introductory APR balance transfer that is about to expire in March. Every year we get closer to balancing our budget without that tax refund – this year will be the closest that we have come to that point. Most years, our refund money is spent before it is direct deposited in my checking account, but I started thinking: what I would do if I could balance my books without that influx of cash every March?
You know what I wish I could do? I would like to my tax refund to my church. Think about it – it is a painless donation, all I have to do is file my taxes. If we could live within our annual income, I could make a charitable donation with my tax refund! Since tax refunds do not count toward annual taxable income, the donation would provide a major deduction on next year’s taxes. I have a number of friends who are getting refunds in the amounts of$4,000 to $6,000 – that is major money.
Now, I prefer to give most of my charitable donations to my church. I am confident that the money is being used wisely and according to the budget. I am certain that funds given to my church will be used in a God-honoring way. You might not have the same confidence in your church – I would ask, then why are you attending there? But if your are not comfortable with a church donation, maybe choose a charity that you are excited about.
I know, the temptation to use free money for retirement or to add to one’s savings account is strong. I know of a lot of people who use their tax refund for stuff like flat screen televisions or an extra vacation or a down payment on a car or an Xbox or a Wii – yikes! God has promised to meet our needs and if He has met your needs, maybe your tax refund is something that He could use to meet the needs of your neighbor.
(If your income level is such that you do not qualify for a tax refund, I want to thank you for the donation that you have given the rest of us.)
Article by Stew
Photo by diametrik