Going for the Jugular

Today TaxMama hears from Carolyn, commenting on yesterday’s TaxQuip. “I thought you would have strongly encouraged her to get off food stamps and earn a living. If she gets more money in food stamps, she should think carefully about doing this?
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Are you kidding me?”

Dear Carolyn,

Thank you so much for your comment. I totally understand your ire! But please remember, while TaxQuips are designed to be entertaining, educational and elucidating, these questions come from real people, some with real, heartbreaking problems in their lives.
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True, sometimes someone’s question or situation is so blatantly criminal I just can’t help getting furious, sarcastic, or even mean…most of the time, as with Blanca, they just need some help getting through tough times. While there are folks out there who make a habit of living off the dole, even creating multiple, phony applications – and live a rich life getting multiple checks and benefits from multiple systems, folks like Blanca need to make realistic evaluations.
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When you put food on your table using food stamps – and a job providing very little net reward will take that away. You really have to think twice before taking that job.

Four things do need to be considered, of course.

1) What is the net benefit from the job after taxes?

Tax considerations are not all bad. Remember, while there might be about $900 in Self-Employment taxes on a $500 per month job – you may also end up with an Earned Income Credit of over $2000 (one child) or over $2400 (two children). (Note: hubbie’s unemployment income isn’t included in earned income, but doesn’t take them over the total allowable income for the EIC.) So, taxes could be a good thing. (Look up $6000 – https://www.irs.gov/app/vita/content/0203/images/0203_04_015.pdf)

2) How much will she lose in benefits? Will the tax credits make up for it?

3) How much will she have to spend on child care so she is free to work? Or with her husband being unemployed, can he take over those duties? And will he and the children survive if he does so?

4) How much can she improve her life, her self-esteem and her mood by having work and bringing increasingly more money to the household as time goes by?
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Anyway, sometimes strong words aren’t the answer. Sometimes, vetting alternatives is.
Incidentally, please see Rhonda Barsamian’s explanation about life in the food stamps lane. It’s illuminating. https://taxquips.com/index.php?id=1215

(P.S. Thanks Deb for jumping to my defense!
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)
And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about ethics and entertainment and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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