Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Punish the Achievers Day

That should be the actual name for April 15th (or, as is the case this year, April 17th). There's nothing like the feeling that comes from paying taxes all year, then having Uncle Sam reach back into your wallet for another bite on Tax Day. Mrs. Spook and Your Humble Correspondent wrote our annual check to the Tax Man over the weekend, and it went in the mail this morning. I asked the clerk behind the counter if I could send it Fourth Class Bulk Mail, but alas, it didn't weigh enough (Memo to the IRS: keep adding to the tax code, and soon enough, we'll have enough forms and schedules to send it in as an overweight, mass-mailing item).

Along with death, taxes are supposedly inevitable. Let me add a couple of additional things to the list. Tune into your late, local news tonight, and you'll see some boob reporter (or reporter-ette), standing in front of the post office, covering the "crush" of last-minute filers. The "other" popular angle for the chattering class is comparing our tax bill to that of foreign countries. And, hey, sure enough, MSN Money already has that one covered, comparing our supposedly "light" tax obligations to that of the socialist Nirvana, Sweden.

The point is, I don't live in Sweden, don't plan to live there, and I don't like the idea of Uncle Sam confiscating a sizeable chunk of my income for various entitlement boondoggles. According to my calculations, about 20% of my income goes for federal taxes, Social Security, and Medicare. With military retiree health care, I'll never qualify for Medicare, so my annual "contribution" (to use the Clinton Administration's favorite term for taxes) is money down the crapper. There's also chance that I'll never collect my Social Security, either by dying to young, the system going belly up, or Congress imposing some sort of means test (mark my words, it's coming). So, you might say that much of my annual tax payment is going to support someone else.

And, of course, it doesn't stop with the feds. A good friend of mine has compiled this list of taxes. Take a look, and see how many you pay:

Accounts Receivable Tax
Airport Tax
Alcohol Rates 2004 - state excise tax rates for liquor, wine, and beer.
Building Permit Tax
Capital Gains Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax (To da MOON and Just added 75 Cents per Pack -- Holy Bank Robbers Batman!)
Cigarette Rates 2005 - state excise tax rates per pack of cigarettes.
City Income Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Court Fines (indirect taxes)
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline Tax: Local, State and Federal Gas Taxes Consume 45.9 Cents Per Gallon on Average (Ohio = 46.4 cents per gallon; Michigan = 52.4 cents per gallon; NY = 62.9 cents per gallon) The Tax Foundation - Local, State and Federal Gas Taxes Consume ...
Head Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax Interest expense (tax on the money)
Inventory tax IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
LEVIES -- Ohio is the Mother of All Levies!
Liquor Tax
Local Income Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Septic Permit Tax
Service Charge Taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Taxes (Truckers)
Sales Tax Rates 2004 - comparison of state and local retail sales taxes.
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Road Toll Booth Taxes
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone federal excise tax
Telephone federal universal service fee tax
Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes
Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
Telephone recurring and nonrecurring charges tax
Telephone State and local tax
Telephone usage charge tax
Tobacco Tax Rate: Effective July 1, 2004
Cigarette tax rate - .10 per (10 cents) individual stick or $2.00 per pack of 20.
Other Tobacco Products - Cigars, non-cigarette smoking tobacco and smokeless tobacco tax rate is 32% of the wholesale price which is the price charged by the manufacturer including the federal taxes before any discounts.
Toll Bridge Taxes
Toll Tunnel Taxes
Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
Trailer registration tax (can you believe IT -- Trailer TAX!)
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

A few more happy thought as you write you checks to the IRS (hat tip to Chief Buddy):

- The wealthiest one percent of taxpayers pay 33.89% of all federal income taxes
- The top ten percent pay 64.89%
- The top 50% of income earners pay 96.03%

If you fall into the Top 50%--and particularly, the Top 10%, you have my sympathy. If you fall in the bottom half, enjoy the ride.

1 comment:

usually mellow said...

You would be shocked to learn that after the civil war and prior to 1943, Americans paid all of their taxes at once. Tax withholding was not an option.

Imagine if we could abolish tax withholding and force americans to 1) save up their annual tax payment and
2) in the process see just how much they actually pay and NOT the marginal difference (refund/amount owed).

Talk about a revolution! That alone would wake wage earning Americans up (self-employed folks pay estimated quarterly taxes) to the point real reform could happen.

From the Treasury website:

Another important feature of the income tax that changed was the return to income tax withholding as had been done during the Civil War. This greatly eased the collection of the tax for both the taxpayer and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. However, it also greatly reduced the taxpayer's awareness of the amount of tax being collected, i.e. it reduced the transparency of the tax, which made it easier to raise taxes in the future.