We posted this over on Tradge but I am posting it anew because it’s suddenly become a metaphor for my life.
I got a bonus last month for hard work I put into a job I was leaving. I was so thrilled to be rewarded and relieved to know I had a financial buffer to live on for a few months while I figured out my next step. I was readying myself to fall back into loving arms with my eyes closed.
Then I read my deposit statement.
Fifty-seven percent deduction. Over half of my last direct deposit, which included payroll and bonus and unused vacation, was deducted. I thought at first this must be a clerical error and immediately emailed HR. They let me know that unfortunately this was no mistake. Bonuses are taxed at a much higher bracket than payroll. Well, given what payroll deducts, that gift tax better be paying for a lot of fucking
public education/healthcare/infrastructure supreme court robes.
I fell forward and hit my face on the ground. I started crying.
Now, I don’t blame anyone for this, and that’s the worst part of failing a trust fall. It’s the machinery of physics. You fall, you land. You make money, you lose money. Just know which way to go.
But taxing a bonus?
I’ve always championed taxing the skin off of rich folks. I still think an 80% tax on the top 1% makes comPLETE sense. I admire Scandinavian welfare, and I don’t cheat my returns. However as someone who in 2012 made less than she did at her very first job in New York City, taxing my bonus (which again, was compensation for hard work I’d actually put in through the year and not chump change that was regularly distributed to all the employees), is cruel. The rules might have been obvious to everyone else but not to me. I’m the girl who fell the wrong way.
TRUST FALL FAIL.