Some unemployed people just can’t get a break. All those laid off late last year can probably attest to this. Not only did they lose their chance at getting paid for the holidays, but they also got stuck with the worst time to apply for unemployment and jobs, because everybody knows nobody works right before the new year. If they were lucky, they got some severance pay. But little did they know how much that would come back to haunt them later.
During the month of January, unemployed people were practically salivating every time they went to check their mail. Part of it had to do with how quickly they managed to shed their social skills, but they were also eagerly anticipating their W-2 form. Why? Because they foolishly thought they could quickly apply for their tax refund to temporarily make ends meet after spending all their unemployment checks on presents in December.
With all their W-2s, 1099s, Schedule Ks, and charitable donations in hand, the unemployed quickly plugged in their information into whatever free tax software was available. After plugging in the most basic information it all started going downhill. That number in the upper right hand corner almost immediately went negative, and as more forms were entered, the more negative it went. The unemployed kept hoping the next form would be the savior, but nothing seemed to bring that number closer to positive.
At the end of it all, the unemployed sat there completely flabbergasted at the amount they appeared to owe. No matter what they tried – fudging itemized deductions, putting money in IRAs, making up charities, the number remained the same along with a computerized warning of possible penalties. Unwilling to believe it, the unemployed reentered all their information into other tax software only to get the same exact results.
After sitting in a catatonic state mumbling something about how they owe more than what they’ve collected in unemployment benefits, the unemployed quickly went into denial mode. Then they went into “why me?” mode and tried to make sense of how they could owe so much when obviously they deserved a refund. “I’m unemployed!” they screamed at the sky. “Why are you doing this to me?”
“You got severance,” a white bearded voice replied. ”It pushed you into a higher tax bracket, sucka. Plus you made too much money.”
And just like that, a nation of unemployed people decided to wait until they’ve collected enough unemployment checks to pay their taxes on April 15 and not a day earlier.