Backer Poll: Does Your Tax Refund Impact Your Kickstarter Decisions?

14 January 2019 | 6 Comments

I fondly look back on the days when I received an annual tax refund from the IRS thanks to the interest paid on my condo. Logically I know that it was money I had already paid being returned to me, but it felt like a bonus every year.

With my income now tied to Stonemaier Games, those days are long gone, but I understand that a lot of people (nearly 80% of Americans) still look forward to their tax refunds each year. Unfortunately, if you’re in the US, it’s quite possible that the current government shutdown will delay those refunds.

What does this have to do with Kickstarter? Well, a curious creator (Loren at WIBAI Games) asked me if they thought the refund delay would impact backer behavior (not to mention the many government employees who aren’t getting paychecks right now). If so, the creator is considering an adjustment to their launch date.

I thought this was an interesting question, so I thought I would pose it to my fellow backers. Feel free to answer in the anonymous poll and/or elaborate in the comments below.

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6 Comments on “Backer Poll: Does Your Tax Refund Impact Your Kickstarter Decisions?

  1. As a government employee, considered essential, I have the dubious honor of reporting for work and not get paid at the moment. One of the shining lights, however, is that I work with a number of great gamers, and we continue to attend the Game Night I host every Thursday at a local Irish pub. So, I’m still receiving Kickstarter or non-Kickstarter published games (just played Tzolk’in last night and Wingspan will debut next week). So, the lack of a refund in a timely manner isn’t changing my spending/ordering habit…fortunately, I’m a discriminating buyer, so while I have a good-sized library, I also play all of the titles.

  2. I am a tax professional (CPA) by day and a board game/Kickstarter enthusiast by night. I read conflicting articles but it is my understanding that the IRS will still be issuing refunds despite the government shutdown. There is a delay (to some) due to the new tax laws and IRS forms not being finalized yet – but the IRS will be accepting returns beginning Monday, January 28th. After that, the IRS should be issuing refunds, government shutdown or not.

    As far as whether or not refund season is a good time to launch – I say anytime people have some discretionary income is a good time to launch. Tax season is one of the more guaranteed times of year where people do have some discretionary income – so timing it around refund time isn’t a bad idea.

    For me personally – the timing of my refund doesn’t affect my decision to back a project or not. If I want a game bad enough I will back the game. So as long as a creator has created that desire in their audience then I think they’ll get the desired result.

  3. For folks in the US who are used to getting a refund of a certain size and planning on that, I would caution spending based on past returns with tax reform. I have done the rough calculation, and I should still get a decent sized refund, but it will be significantly lower than in the past. Although some of that change is definitely the amount of income tax withholding.

    My experience is that most people have no ideas about taxes and how tax reform might change their tax situation. For me, I own a house and have itemized my deduction as single man with no kids around $10,500 plus had the exemption of $4,050. This year the exemption is gone, and standard deduction is $12,000, so my taxable income will be up a bit. For those with children this will be somewhat offset by increases to the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000.

  4. As a relatively young, still in college person, we usually still get all or most of our taxes back. Generally, when our refunds come, it is in large enough quantities that it is significantly larger than our normal regular paychecks. So, that means it is used for the more expensive necessities of life; new tires, making larger payments on student loans, etc. Tax refunds is the one time of the year our money rarely goes towards games.

  5. I always structure my withholdings so I receive more money than I should throughout the year, and pay it at tax time. So, no refund for me! But, also no impact on my buying decisions as I always have the money in place to pay when tax time comes, so it’s not a surprise.

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