Monday, February 16, 2009

Tax refund economic sedative?

Coping with big tax refunds isn't something I know a lot about. Unfortunately.

But what if, as appears to be happening in California and almost happened in Kansas, the tax collectors send us IOUs instead? That can't be good for economic stimulus.

We always get a lot of advice this time of year about how to use refunds prudently. We ignore a lot of it, of course. Tax time windfalls can be too sweet not to splurge on something. And as J.D., a blogger I watch at, showed a while back, you can make a case for not following conventional prudent advice too.

If you are really counting on that money, your most likely individual choice now will be to tough it out, just as you do when your paycheck shrinks. You can try to catch up when the money does come. But all our bills could be bigger by then, and the money may just vanish in the sand the way last year's $300 and $600 stimulus checks seemed to.

Maybe the Crazy Ike Furniture Outlet, Discount Phone and Mattress stores can help. They are on the air now screaming helpful suggestions about using our tax refunds. And they often advertise no-money-down, no-interest-now outside tax season. Just moosh the two ads together.

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