If the Taxman Giveth

What I’d Do With $5k Tax Refund
by Jeff Salter

Well, first of all, let me state clearly that (on those rare occasions) when Uncle Sam “returns” excessively withheld taxes to me, it is NOT Sam’s money that he’s GIVING to me.  I say that only because some folks think of such refunds as a gift.  Including a financial planner who was promoting his 457k deferred compensation plan at my workplace, who actually said, “You put in your $100 and Uncle Sam puts in $15.”  I gave him a sharp rebuke:  “That $15 is not money from Uncle Sam.  When the Fed. Gov’t lowers the amount withheld from my salary, that’s still MY money.”

He was suitably chastened (for the moment) but likely continued to use that same line with other people who had less financial savvy than I did.

And that heated intro was only to establish that this hypothetical $5k tax refund is my OWN money … rather than a ‘gift’ from the beneficent Feds.

            Okay.  Now what would I do with $5k tax refund?

This is awfully boring, so you may as well start napping.

I’d slap a few dollars in savings and use to rest to pay off credit card balance.  There, I told you it was boring.

            But here’s what I would WANT to do.  Though $5k wouldn’t be enough.  I want one of those crossover utility vehicles (CUV) that’s a bit like a golf cart, but a bit like a four-wheeler … and has space for four occupants.  $5k would make a nice down payment.

Here’s some of John Deere’s CUVs in the Gator line:


            But a more practical use of a $5k tax refund would be to locate five different publications (whether print or electronic) and buy the largest ad in each.  My ad would promote my upcoming novel (my third from Astraea Press), Called to Arms Again — so I can get the word out to all of America.

Due out sometime next month, Called to Arms Again is my tribute to the Greatest Generation.  It has humor, action, patriotism, romance, and even history.  It should appeal to all ages from 19 to 90.  When it’s released, you owe it to your grandparents, parents, aunts/uncles, etc., to buy EACH of them a copy.  They’ll see themselves – or their friends/relatives – in my story.

Here’s my hook and blurb:

Called to Arms Again
By J. L. Salter

            Grit doesn’t fade away … it just becomes crusty.  With harrowing elements right out of today’s headlines, this story reaches back into the sturdy heartbeat of people raised during the Depression and tested during World War II.  Though the old uniforms haven’t fit in many decades, their resilient spirits still have that same intensity which helped save democracy.

            Needing only a fresh angle to write her Veteran’s Day special, Kelly discovers first-hand that the Greatest Generation still has enough grit to fight back.  While all the authorities are occupied during a massive Homeland Security drill, an urban gang of thieves targets an isolated retirement subdivision … figuring the crippled geriatrics would offer no resistance.

Though Kelly’s widowed boyfriend came along only for a post-funeral luncheon, Mitch soon finds himself leading a mis-matched flanking team. Kelly’s good friend Wade has his own assignment, with a home-made mortar and lots of illegal gunpowder.

Maybe it’s difficult to remember everyday things like taking pills, but these octogenarians have never forgotten it was up to them to defend family, home, community, and country.  The outcome of their courageous stand depends on the resolve and resourcefulness of an unlikely ensemble of eccentric elderly neighbors, several American Legion members, and others spanning four generations.

What would YOU do with a tax refund of $5,000?


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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16 Responses to If the Taxman Giveth

  1. crbwriter says:

    Love that premise, Jeff!


    • jeff salter says:

      Thanks, Chris.
      Vets who served in the military during WW2 are dying at the rate of some 950 per DAY. It’s my sincere hope that many of them will be able to read my novel and feel the way I’ve tried to honor them.


  2. everwriting says:

    Since, even though I didn’t make much money and spent a lot, therefore had to give more money to my Uncle Sam, I’m just a dreamer about any tax refund… All the same, I appreciate the gesture toward my father’s generation, Jeff. I did the same thing with my book, Wait a Lonely Lifetime, but for the final group of the drafted veterans, Vietnam War Veterans. Although my novel isn’t war-specific, I had Vietnam on my mind and in my heart when I wrote it.

    We cannot express our appreciation and admiration for these men and women often enough.


    • jeff salter says:

      Absolutely right, Leigh. And, in fact, there are Vietnam vets in my story as well. One of the flanking teams has a Vietnam vet and a Desert Storm vet.
      How is your book doing, by the way? It’s been nearly a year? Or did I miscalculate?


  3. Shea Ford says:

    Since my hubby is the only one making money at the moment, we are getting a refund, but I don’t think it’s quite 5k. Thanks to Dave Ramsey, we only have a mortgage to worry about so we’d probably sock the money away for the inevitable car replacement someday. 😀 We’re boringly responsible that way. lol But if I had my way, I’d use it to join as many writers conferences as I could since I’ve yet to go to one. 😉

    You’re new book sound great! My grandfather served in WWII but I never knew it until he died. He wasn’t a very social person. Pity. I’d have like to known his experience. 😦


    • jeff salter says:

      One thread of my novel deals with the trouble that many of that generation had in relating anything significant to their loved ones.
      I also deal with that in a short companion piece, which I’ve just submitted to Astraea … but have not yet heard back.
      Never apologize for being financially prudent, Shea. That’s exactly my mentality — pay off the debts and get on a cash basis. The 4-wheel thing is more of a joke than a dream.


  4. My dad and his brother served in WWII, so I’ll be thinking of them when I read Called to Arms Again. Congrats! And with $5K I would pay off the last of my credit cards, quit my bakery job, and write more!


  5. jbrayweber says:

    Great post. Love the blurb of Called to Arms, too. The Greatest Generation fascinates me, mostly because of my own grandfather’s experiences.

    What would I do with 5K?
    Probably pay off/down credit cards. Boring, like you. Other uses: Put towards a cruise, (just not on Carnival), buy stuff for the house like a new living room, and I, too, want a CUV for the beach. Oh, I’m sure I could think of many fun things I could do with my not-so found money.



    • jeff salter says:

      LOL, Jenn. Yeah, the Carnival line has had a terrible run lately. Makes me think they were targeted. By whom, I don’t know, but what are the chances for all those severe problems … in a liner which is built to overcome those type situations? Makes me suspect sabotage, but I can’t guess at a motive.


  6. Patricia would quit her bakery job and with enough ‘mad money’,I would consider re-opening mine in a new location…or at least a small book-cafe…but more than $5 grand,I can tell you now!
    Nice segue into a promo for your next book there, Jeff! My cousin has collected a great deal from his father and our uncles from their experiences in WWII, including poetry that our chaplain uncle wrote on The Front; I had no idea.
    My parents met at a ‘war plant’; my mother was the secretary to the personnel manager,(read:”she did all the work”;) She handled everything but hiring,(she had to do some of the firing). She did all the paperwork , such as pay, taxes, war contracts for workers,(esp . the handicapped; she had a blind machinist she did all the paperwork for. She said he was a marvel). She got deferments for essential workers, etc. helped the workers, who, like herself, had flooded into the Washington , DC area to find work, find places to stay and had to teach some about ‘city life’. Some stories are very amusing.
    She handled more than she should have, as the boss ‘had problems’ (drinking and 2-day ‘lunches’ with women).Of course, they would never put a woman in his actual position back then, so she did the work and he took the pay.
    My father had lost an eye when young .He put himself through school and became an electrical engineer.He installed some of the first radar in the US airplanes at ‘the plant’.
    I started to put some of the stories down. I need to finish that before it is all lost.


    • jeff salter says:

      A wonderful assembly of history from the Greatest Generation right there in your family, Tonette. I hope you can get it collected and duplicated to save for the generations that follow.


  7. Iris B says:

    $5,000 tax refund – i’d be on the next plane to the US again …. LOL.
    Normally a tax refund of this amount goes to pay the mortgage or paying bills 😦 ….


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