How To Track Your Tax Refund

As with everything else in this new and “improved” digital age we now live in; checking the status of your tax refund can now be attached to the popular phrase; There’s an app for that.

You can now track your income tax refund simply by downloading the Internal Revenue Services’s IRS2GO app from The App Store, Google Play, or Amazon. The links are provided here for your convenience.

After you get the app on your mobile device the rest is pretty self-explanatory. You just have to be able to read and answer the three main questions noted below;

  1. Social Security Number. You must enter the SSN or IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number shown on your tax return.
  2. Filing Status. Please select the Filing Status shown on your tax return.
  3. Refund Amount. You must enter the exact whole dollar Refund Amount shown on your tax return.

For those of you who are paranoid about anything involving your smart phone and personal information (yes there are some people like that out there), you can wait until you get to a secure location and access the same forms from a desktop on the IRS’s website here. Oh, by the way, there’s no such thing as a secure location anymore.

Based on the IRS.gov website, you should be able to get up to date information on your (ahem) “refund”, 24 hours after e-filling or 4 weeks after you mailed your return.  If you are not due a refund, please disregard this portion of this blog post as it can possibly lead you to again question why the hell you aren’t due a refund. Now that we’ve got the question answered let’s answer another question; WHY YOU SHOULDN’T WANT A TAX REFUND.

Who’s Got My Money?

Plain and simple: Your tax refund is basically a savings account that doesn’t accrue any interest. beginning on January 1st of each year you (those of us working on the books) start dropping money into this “savings account” via the government-mandated federal and state income taxes removed from your paycheck.

Now, for those of us who just suck at saving money, this may seem like a great way to keep yourself from wasting all of your earnings. NOPE. Think again.

Most cynics would assume most will spend the cash on big screen televisions, vacations,  or new cars, right?  Maybe your more of an optimistic who thinks the larger majority are paying off credit cards or loans. Well, those are both wrong. 

According to this article from Market Watch, “Cash-strapped families are more likely to use the money towards health care.”  Yup, that’s right health care. The article later adds, “Account holders in the top quintile (who had more than $3,500 in their accounts) saw an 11% rise in health care spending after receiving the refund, while people in the lowest quintile (with less than $536 in their accounts) increased health care spending by 220%.” 

I’ll skip over the rest of the article and get straight to the point. “The cost of healthcare rises every year, and there’s no indication that it will stop anytime soon.”  Do you see a problem with this?

The health care system in this country, as well as others, is in such disarray that the only way to ensure your survival is to eat healthily, exercise as much as possible, and get rich as soon as you can.  Yes, you read that right, and that last one is the most important.

You can eat all the salad you want and pump iron until you look like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but that ain’t stopping cancer or some other ailment from cutting your life short. What’s that you say, social security? I was tempted to insert that emoji with the cutting eyes, but I will settle for a, “don’t hold your breath”.

In all honesty, the age requirements for social security or set-up to keep you from collecting. In other words, the system is set up for you to die before you can cash out and “retire”.

The Checks In the Mail

The previous paragraphs may seem a bit morbid, hey the truth is sometimes hard to swallow. But, this story doesn’t have to end with you kicking the bucket before getting a chance to enjoy the essence of your golden years. The solution is inside of you right now.

You started to access it when you kept reading this post after receiving the answer to your initial question. Deep down inside or even on the surface, you know that time is flying by these days and you have an itch tempting you to start scratching the surface of an endgame scenario where you go out in a sense of peaceful fulfillment.  So, how do we do this?

The first step is to understand that you eagerly awaiting that tax refund is no way to live. You shouldn’t be dependant on the government to dictate when you get large sums of money. Instead of relying on the IRS’s no interest earned, “Savings Fund”, you should be finding ways to put a  portion of your check into one or several different ventures that will actually provide you a righteous ROI or Return on Investment.

Whether it’s stock, bonds, business ventures, mutual funds, annuities, or all of the above, just take as much as you can even if it’s not much, and invest in your future. The alternative doesn’t have a desirable outcome.

Of course, there are those out there who worked hard for 20-30 years and find themselves staring at a fat pension, fortunate enough to make it to retirement age and collect on that good old social “security” check,  but again…the outcome is not desirable.

If you check out this article, from the New York Times, you’ll see that they echo my current assessment.  “If you want to retire, whether for health benefits or otherwise, you’ll have to start preparing when you’re still young.” the author says.

Sure, the retired “healthy” construction worker might fall to bouts with obesity after expunging his physically demanding occupation, but what about all the alcohol and other bad habits he/she acquired over the years to cope with “the job”, could they have contributed to the undesired outcome?

Sure, the retired “healthy” construction worker might fall to bouts with obesity after expunging his physically demanding occupation, but what about all the alcohol and other bad habits he/she acquired over the years to cope with “the job”, could they have contributed to the undesired outcome?

Look if you’re that concerned with this refund check it may be time to start making some life decisions. In all honesty, you’d rather just break even or owe a little bit at the end of the year. That usually means you made a nice chunk of change or that you pocketed more than your peers who brag about how much they’re getting back.

Hang in there, and keep your cool. Put your efforts into ensuring your prolonged financial freedom way ahead of the suggested schedule.  You’ll be the one bragging in the end.

Now you know how to track your tax refund. Did this help you? Let me know. Leave a reply in the comment box below.

[Feature Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash]
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