A lot of New Yorkers are finding tax time particularly painful this year.
Liberal and progressive NYC taxpayers resent filling the coffers of a federal government headed by a billionaire president who refuses to release his own tax returns, brags about avoiding taxes (“That makes me smart!”), and who has promised to use the money collected for programs they find repugnant.
Past years’ angry filers were TEA (Taxed Enough Already) party members or sympathizers who resent “big government’s” social programs, helping the poor and sending money abroad.
This year, some liberals are finding that surrendering their earnings to a government headed by President Donald Trump is a particularly bitter pill to swallow.
“It’s so unfair! It’s so wrong!” Samantha Mitchell, a Harlem medical assistant, said of paying taxes to the Trump administration. “He’s using the money to keep poor people down and to help the rich people get even more money!”
Mitchell is happy to pay when “my taxes go to health care, disabled people and senior citizens,” as well as toward subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. She can even accept the steep taxes levied by the city and state of New York.
“I just don’t want my money spent to help people who have money already,” Mitchell said.
Her friend, Andrace Williams, 49, who lives in East New York and works as a case manager for the homeless, is particularly galled to fund a government she feels is working against her.
“I see firsthand every day” how much help poor people need to heal and get on their feet, Williams said. “It’s painful” to pay taxes to a government with priorities so different from her own, she said.
Many New Yorkers — who voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 6 to 1 — say they are freshly motivated to find and claim every tax deduction possible so as not to unduly enrich a federal government they believe supports abhorrent policies and priorities.
“People are so much more disgruntled this year. They don’t want to give their money to the current government,” said Koreen Jervis, president of Korje Tax Professionals Inc. in Chelsea and president of the Brooklyn/Queens Society of Enrolled Agents (tax specialists that represent taxpayers before the IRS).
Steven Zelin, a midtown CPA, said his nonprofit clients are especially worried now about having their funding slashed and missions imperiled.
“A lot of people have commented they would gladly pay more taxes if it meant not having this president,” he said.
Of course, not all NYC taxpayers are singing the blues. Mike DiGennaro, an enrolled agent in Howard Beach, said many of his clients with more conservative politics are hoping Trump will cut their taxes.
“There’s always resistance to paying taxes in New York, New York — but they’re not tying it to Trump,” DiGennaro said. And, he added, “the people who are getting money back don’t complain at all.”