Whew. Did you finish? Get those taxes into the mailbox yet? As I’m writing, you’ve still got a few hours left, but not many. April 15 can be a real son of a gun for many of us as we gather piles of paper and reports around us that get scattered a few times by the breeze or a cat or dog or kids or our occasional fits of temper…but eventually we muddle through some ten-ninety-something form and stand in line at the post office, muttering that we’ll never put it off until the last minute again.
So, Forbes tells us the average tax refund this year is about $3,000 and more than 90% will be processed in less than 21 days. Ready for a wacky thought? Donate that money to charity. Don’t wait until December to give to organizations that have your passions and interests at heart. Everybody waits until the end of the year, which makes the rest of the calendar uncomfortably lean for most non-profits.
You probably didn’t budget the refund money since you couldn’t plan well until you did the paperwork to find out how much it would be…and while extra cash flow never hurts…you did OK so far this year without additional infusions of dollars. It could make a beautiful addition to your wardrobe, or a fun entertainment splurge, or that widget you’ve been eyeing that nobody got you from your gift list last December…but it could also mean less empty stomachs for some kids, or life-saving malaria nets, or an endangered species being better protected, or a school being built, life-saving medical care or medicines, a creative endeavor being realized, a teacher not having to empty their own wallet to get supplies in the classroom, a safe source of drinking water or hygiene. The list is as diverse as we are, but the commonality is that it could be YOU that makes a difference. You can’t solve every problem by throwing money at it, but you can help those who have boots on the ground working tirelessly every day in our stead while we have to go on with our lives, keep on working. A truly helpful charity closing down because of lack of funds is tragic, and it happens all the time. Giving is low, need is high, and not every organization will make it until December when people loosen up their own pursestrings and get more generous for good causes.
Think about it, when that multi-colored check comes from Uncle Sam. You could turn it around right away and put it to work making our world better. It would be huge, and, it would be tax-deductible for next year’s return.
Get a receipt!