For most taxpayers, Tuesday’s deadline for filing 2016 returns wasn’t all that stressful, despite the ridiculously complicated process that elected officials have for decades promised to simplify.
For one, the IRS says it had already processed two-thirds of the 150 million returns it expects to receive. For another, many filers (about 80 percent prior to April 18) didn’t have to write a check to the Treasury Department: An estimated $300 billion in federal income taxes will be refunded to taxpayers. Sounds good, until you consider that in the 2015 tax year, about $1.45 trillion didn’t come back to them in the form of refunds — a lot of people, it turns out, do actually pay income taxes. Here’s how the money is spent.