Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
Yep. And reward yourself with a Slurpee.
Tax season: a time when grumbles about how much the government is stealing from us reach a crescendo. Spontaneous eruptions—Damn you, Obamacare!—are synchronized perfectly with vigorous wringing of fists. Of course, not everyone participates—for some of us, this is a time to rejoice in refunds.
But if there’s one thing that unites us all as the tax deadline approaches, it’s that everybody hates the process of filing returns.
To make the arduous task a tad easier, the Internal Revenue Service announced Wednesday that taxpayers who file in cash can do so at 7-Elevens—7,000 of them, in 34 states around the country.
“We continue to look for new ways to provide services for our taxpayers. Taxpayers have many options to pay their tax bills by direct debit, a check, or a credit card, but this provides a new way for people who can only pay their taxes in cash without having to travel to an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “Taxpayers should look into the payment option that works best for them.”
This announcement may not make a big difference to all Americans. Many people pay via credit cards, and if we’re not handing over the chore to our parents (as some snake people I know do), we enlist services such as TurboTax to prepare our returns. (It’s no accident that these companies have been lobbying to make the filing process harder for years.)
Many of the working poor, however, don’t have bank accounts, and often collect wages in cash. If they’re holding down multiple jobs, they may not have the time to deal with the complicated paperwork, or the resources to pay someone to do it for them. And missing the deadline or making errors in their returns would be dire for the low-income taxpayers who rely on government benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Being able to pay at the 7-Eleven around the corner certainly doesn’t simplify the paperwork, but may make it slightly more convenient to file it.
A potential pitfall: taxpayers need an email address to use this payment option. A potential benefit: celebratory Slurpees.