Benbrook Library / Library services / Musings

One For You, Nineteen For Me: The Taxman Cometh to Benbrook

The finger thing means the taxes!

This time of year in library land, there’s one question asked so frequently that it gives “Where’s your restroom?” a run for its money as the undisputed king of reference questions: “Do you have tax forms?” Beginning seemingly immediately after the New Year, party hat hair-suffering, confetti-trailing citizens of Benbrook flock to the library seeking 1040s, Schedules A-ZZ, and all the other forms in the IRS’s sad, confusing tax rainbow. The fact that the IRS doesn’t usually get the most coveted forms* to us until early-to-mid February doesn’t deter these eager beavers; they patiently continue to visit and call until we have the goods.

Why are people so eager to do their taxes? I mean, even with sophisticated doohickeys like Turbo Tax to do much of the heavy lifting for you, tax filing is still a fun-free ordeal. The obvious incentive is the potential for a big, fat, hairy refund check. I got to wondering just how much money Benbrookians tend to get back from Unky Sam.  It may surprise you to learn that a happy-go-lucky, Bueller-esque organization like the IRS keeps detailed records on tax returns, including refund information, and such data may be accessed rather easily online. I looked up the stats for the 76126 zip code (I know, I know, 76126 contains some Fort Worth residents, yours truly included, so it’s not a perfect exercise) on the IRS’s website, and here’s what I found:

Size of Adjusted Gross Income

# of Returns

# of Returns
Receiving Overpayment Refund

% of Returns
Receiving
Overpayment
Refund

Gross Amount of Overpayment Refunds

Average Amount
of Overpayment
Refund

At least $1, under $25,000

2,861

2,286

79.90%

$4,077,000

$1,783.46

At least $25,000, under $50,000

2,065

1,678

81.26%

$4,191,000

$2,497.62

At least $50,000, under $75,000

1,570

1,175

74.84%

$3,286,000

$2,796.60

At least $75,000, under $100,000

1,173

880

75.02%

$2,795,000

$3,176.14

At least $100,000, under $200,000

1,811

1,121

61.90%

$4,368,000

$3,896.52

$200,000 or more

530

209

39.43%

$2,830,000

$13,540.67

Total

10,010

7,349

73.42%

$21,547,000

$2,931.96

Note that the data in the table is for 2011, which is the most recent data the IRS has available. Also note that the original data table does not contain the percentage or average columns, meaning I had to do math, so we must allow for the possibility that I messed something up.  As for the data itself, I was pretty shocked to see that almost three quarters of those who filed a return received a refund, and was equally shocked to see that the overall average refund was nearly $3,000. My refunds are virtually never anywhere near that amount. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but clearly plenty of Benbrook taxpayers are doing it right. We’ll keep providing the forms, and y’all keep taking back all of the cash your expectant, chafed fingers deserve.

*You can always print tax forms from here, but we understand if you’re reluctant to print off a 100+ page instruction booklet.

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