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Figure the title is pretty self-explanatory. But if need be, if I were to mention I'm getting a large refund this year, or getting audited, or anything in between, am I walking on thin ice talking about this?

closed as off-topic by Richard U, Chris E, paparazzo, gnat, Dawny33 Apr 16 '16 at 2:55

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  • 2
    "If need be"? In what situation would you 'need' to tell your employer the amount of your tax refund? – Brandin Apr 15 '16 at 8:16
  • @Brandin I think you miss interpreted the question. "If need be" pertains to explaining the question further. Not, if need be share tax info. – user48661 Apr 15 '16 at 13:30
  • If you instead wrote the concrete situation I think it would be easier to follow. For example, "I'm getting a large tax refund. (Why) should I mention this to my employer?" That seems to be the question gnasher729 is anwering below. But if your situation is different, maybe there's a different answer. – Brandin Apr 15 '16 at 13:50
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    I don't think it's right, nor safe, to share my tax situation on the internet. And I'm hoping to be informed it the same goes for the workplace. – user48661 Apr 15 '16 at 14:03
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    @Walle Just release your tax returns already! time.com/4295446/bernie-sanders-tax-returns-jane-sanders – jimm101 Apr 15 '16 at 16:33
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You didn't mention the country... In most countries, the company pays you a salary, and deducts some amount of tax off the salary, sending that money to the tax office. This should more or less reflect what taxes you owe, but will always be a bit inaccurate. And at the end of the year, you fill out your tax return, where the tax office calculates exactly what you owe, and then you pay the difference or get a return. That is absolutely normal.

So a large tax return doesn't actually mean you get money. It means the company sent too much money to the tax office through the year, and the difference gets returned to you. It doesn't affect your financial circumstances (it may affect what you thought were your circumstances), so it is not really business related or sensitive information. It's personal, there is no need to discuss it at work, but there is no particular reason not to discuss it. It's like nobody can force you to discuss how your children are doing at school, but if you like talking about it in your lunch break, few people will be stopping you.

If you regularly get huge tax returns, then the company isn't calculating your taxes right, and you might complain to their payroll. (At one place, what I paid through the year was always correct within less than £3). This should never happen at a big company; at a small company where they don't have anyone doing payroll full time it might happen.

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    I think your last paragraph may be over generalizing, depending on jurisdiction. For several years, I was getting back more than 10% of my taxes. It had absolutely nothing to do with how my company calculated my taxes, they followed the rules and formulas correctly. I had a sizable number of deductions that came into play when I filed. There are ways I could request my company treat my with-holdings specially, but that is my choice/responsibility, not theirs. – cdkMoose Apr 15 '16 at 12:45
  • As the poster mentioned Stirling then the PAYE (pay as you earn - a tax system where you pay each month) scheme is very accurate when you have no other income – Ed Heal Apr 15 '16 at 13:40
  • In the US this isn't true--you control the "deductions", and those determine what is deducted. – jimm101 Apr 15 '16 at 16:21
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In general it is not a good idea to be sharing personal information. In particular I'd advise against sharing financial information unless there is a good reason behind it such as asking an expert for advice.

Work friendships can be fairly shallow (as can non work ones). You never know when something you said can come back to bite you. I would never let anyone know if I'm soon to get a windfall of money, some places it may be OK, but here it would be asking for trouble with people begging loans or worse.

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I agree with gnasher729. Furthermore, you can if you're talking to payroll/HR/management (if they're the ones you negotiated your salary with) and it is a tax issue. Otherwise, if your just bragging about how you managed to deduct a large amount by maxing out an IRA or something like that, you're best off keeping it to yourself. And if it's a matter of you needing tax info, again, if it isn't payroll/HR/management (if they're the ones you negotiated your salary with) then don't talk about it.

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    I think you should expand 'I agree with gnasher' into what you agree on - don't make me read another answer to understand yours. – Joe Apr 15 '16 at 17:26
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It really depends on your specific office. Generally, your financial situations are your personal business and therefore nobody else really needs to know about them. However, if someone asks about them and you are comfortable talking to them about it, go right ahead.

If your work-environment is something like a large company and is more of a corporate setting, I wouldn't. However, if you work in a small startup where everyone is just pals, go right ahead. Again, it greatly depends on where you work and who you're working with.

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You should avoid any specific talk. The underlying issue is that your tax refund gives others an idea of your salary, and that can cause resentment. It doesn't give specific information, but it gives people a rough idea.

I have heard people complain about due dates, and administrative nightmares caused by ridiculously low amounts (e.g., a colleague who spent many hours over a discrepancy less than $5), but being more specific is asking for trouble.

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    The underlying issue is that your tax refund gives others an idea of your salary <--- only for people who do not understand how taxes work. You can make $25k and receive a $5k refund or make $100k and owe $5k. Or the person making $100k could get a $5k refund. – enderland Apr 15 '16 at 14:46
  • @enderland True... but in general, the magnitude of the numbers cast a shadow on a few things--possible salary range (you don't get a 20K refund on a 15K salary), what you consider a large/small/huge refund, etc. – jimm101 Apr 15 '16 at 14:55
  • You can get close to a $10k refund on a $15k salary, though, depending on your family situation. EITC and refundable child tax credits can provide a considerable tax return. – enderland Apr 15 '16 at 14:57
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    Sure. And if you say "I'm getting a huge return", that's indicating your salary--$10K = huge. If you say "It's a small return" at $10K--you don't make $15K a year. The OP says "large return"--so he's giving some indication on what "large" is. And let's not assume everyone know the ins and outs of taxes to do their mental math--if I receive $5K and you receive $10K--right or wrong, I may assume you earn more. There's all risk and no reward in talking about it. – jimm101 Apr 15 '16 at 15:05
  • An every one is assuming that Is the USA for example in the UK and many other countrys you don't have much you can offset against tax. – Pepone Apr 15 '16 at 20:21