Zakaj plačati davke?: Vaši dolarji pri delu

Zakaj plačati davke?: Vaši dolarji pri delu


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Državna (in lokalna) davčna politika

Prodaja marihuane je zakonita in obdavčena v devetih državah. Države trenutno zaračunavajo tri vrste davkov na marihuano: kot odstotek cene (maloprodajna ali veleprodajna cena), glede na težo (t.j. za unčo) in glede na moč zdravila (tj. Raven THC). Nekatere države uporabljajo kombinacijo teh davkov.

KOLIKO PRIHODKI DAVČAJO DRŽAVNE IN LOKALNE VLADE OD DAVKOV MARIJUANA?

Čeprav je po zvezni zakonodaji prepovedana, je prodaja marihuane zakonita in obdavčena v devetih državah: Aljaski, Kaliforniji, Koloradu, Illinoisu, Massachusettsu, Michiganu, Nevadi, Oregonu in Washingtonu. Marihuana je zakonita v Maineu in Vermontu, vendar nobena od držav še ni vzpostavila svojega davčnega sistema. Okrožje Kolumbija je prav tako legaliziralo marihuano, vendar kongres mestu trenutno preprečuje uravnavanje in obdavčitev prodaje (slika 1).

Colorado in Washington sta davke na marihuano pobirala od leta 2014. V koledarskem letu 2018 je Colorado zbral 267 milijonov dolarjev, Washington pa 439 milijonov dolarjev državnih davkov na marihuano ali približno 1 odstotek državnih in lokalnih lastnih prihodkov v vsaki državi. Štiri druge države so v letu 2018 poročale o celoletnem državnem davku na marihuano: Aljaska (15 milijonov USD), Kalifornija (354 milijonov USD), Nevada (87 milijonov USD) in Oregon (94 milijonov USD). Vse skupaj je bilo manj kot 1 odstotek državnih in lokalnih lastnih splošnih prihodkov. (Opomba: Nobena od teh vsot ne vključuje lokalnih davčnih prihodkov.)

Medicinska marihuana je zakonita v 33 državah in nekatere od teh držav obdavčijo davek. Toda te davčne stopnje so pogosto enake ali blizu splošne državne davčne stopnje pri prodaji in ne zbirajo velikih prihodkov.

KAKO SE DRUŽBENE CENE MARIJUANA RAZLIKUJO?

Obstajajo trije načini, kako država in lokalne oblasti obdavčijo marihuano.

Odstotek cene. Ti davki so podobni davku na maloprodajo, kjer potrošnik plača davek na kupnino, trgovec pa ga nakaže državi. Nekaj ​​držav zaračuna svoj odstotek davka na ceno pri veleprodajni transakciji, vendar se predpostavlja, da se ti stroški nato prenesejo na potrošnika v končni nakupni ceni. Nekatere države tudi dovoljujejo krajem, da zaračunavajo odstotek davka na ceno - običajno z najvišjo stopnjo.

Teža na osnovi. Ti davki so podobni davkom na cigarete, le da namesto obdavčitve na škatlo cigaret davek temelji na teži izdelka marihuane. Države s to vrsto davka običajno določajo tudi različne stopnje za različne izdelke iz marihuane. Na primer, Kalifornija zaračunava 9,65 USD za davek za unčo za cvetje marihuane, 2,87 USD za davek za unčo za liste marihuane in 1,35 USD za unčo za svež rastlinski material. Tako kot pri drugih veleprodajnih davkih se domneva, da se večina teh stroškov prenese na potrošnika v končni nakupni ceni.

Na osnovi moči. Ti davki so podobni davkom na alkohol, razen namesto da bi pijače z višjim odstotkom alkohola obdavčili po višjih stopnjah (tj. Alkoholne pijače so obdavčene po višji stopnji kot pivo), davek temelji na ravni THC v izdelku iz marihuane. Illinois je trenutno edina država z davkom na THC. Obdavčuje izdelke z vsebnostjo TCH 35 odstotkov ali manj pri 10 odstotkih maloprodajne cene, za izdelke z več kot 35 odstotki pa pri 25 odstotkih maloprodajne cene. Vsi izdelki z marihuano (na primer užitni) so obdavčeni po 20 odstotkih maloprodajne cene.

Nekatere države poleg trošarin zaračunavajo tudi splošni prometni davek za nakup marihuane.

Kako države porabijo prihodek od marihuane?

Doslej je vsaka država, ki obdavčuje marihuano, vsaj del nastalih prihodkov namenila posebnim programom:

    polovico svojih prihodkov pošlje v svoj splošni sklad, polovico pa v programe za zmanjšanje števila ponavljajočih se kaznivih dejanj. prihodki plačujejo administrativne stroške, povezane z legalizacijo marihuane, nato pa presežna sredstva porabijo za programe, povezane z uživanjem drog, vključno z gospodarskim razvojem, akademskimi študijami in mladinskimi programi. prihodki so namenjeni izobraževalnim programom. prihodki najprej plačajo administrativne stroške, povezane z legalizacijo marihuane. Vsi preostali prihodki se nato razdelijo med splošni sklad, programe, ki podpirajo prizadevanja za reformo kazenskega pravosodja, programe zlorabe substanc in prenose lokalnih oblasti.
  • Ko bo Maine začel zbirati davčne prihodke, bo enakomerno razdelil svoje prihodke med programe javnega zdravja in varnosti ter programe usposabljanja organov pregona, povezane z legalizacijo marihuane. svoje prihodke razdeljuje v različne programe javne varnosti. prihodki se pošiljajo v izobraževalne programe in njihov sklad za deževne dni. svoje prihodke namenja izobraževalnim programom, programom za preprečevanje in zdravljenje drog ter nakazila lokalnim oblastem. svoje prihodke namenja zdravstvenim programom.
Posodobljeno maja 2020

Dadayan, Lucy. 2019. "Ali države stavijo na greh? Motna prihodnost obdavčitve države." “Washington, DC: Center za davčno politiko Urban-Brookings.

Marron, Donald. 2015. "Ali bi morali obdavčiti notranje zadeve tako kot zunanje?" Washington, DC: Center za davčno politiko Urban-Brookings.

Marron, Donald in Adele Morris. 2016. "Kako naj vlade uporabljajo prihodke od popravnih davkov?" Washington, DC: Center za davčno politiko Urban-Brookings.


Višji davki se uporabljajo za financiranje socialnih programov

Znižanje davkov ne pomaga nujno ali škoduje gospodarstvu. Ti mora Preden ugotovite, kakšen učinek bo znižanje imelo na gospodarstvo, razmislite, za kaj se porabljajo prihodki iz teh davkov. Iz te razprave pa vidimo naslednje splošne trende:

  1. Znižanje davkov in potratna poraba bodo gospodarstvu pomagali zaradi odvračilnega učinka, ki ga povzroča obdavčitev. Znižanje davkov in koristnih programov lahko koristi gospodarstvu ali pa tudi ne.
  2. Za vojsko, policijo in sodni sistem je potrebna določena državna poraba. Država, ki na teh področjih ne porabi ustrezne količine denarja, bo imela depresivno gospodarstvo. Preveč porabe na teh področjih je potratna.
  3. Država potrebuje tudi infrastrukturo za visoko stopnjo gospodarske aktivnosti. Večine te infrastrukture zasebni sektor ne more ustrezno zagotoviti, zato morajo vlade na tem področju porabiti denar za zagotovitev gospodarske rasti. Vendar pa je prevelika poraba ali poraba za napačno infrastrukturo lahko potratna in upočasni gospodarsko rast.
  4. Če so ljudje po naravi nagnjeni k porabi lastnega denarja za izobraževanje in zdravstveno varstvo, bo obdavčitev socialnih programov verjetno upočasnila gospodarsko rast. Socialna poraba, ki je namenjena družinam z nizkimi dohodki, je za gospodarstvo veliko boljša od univerzalnih programov.
  5. Če ljudje niso nagnjeni k porabi za lastno izobraževanje in zdravstveno varstvo, je lahko dobava tega blaga koristna, saj ima družba kot celota zdravo in izobraženo delovno silo.

Vlada, ki je končala vse socialne programe, ni rešitev za ta vprašanja. Ti programi imajo lahko veliko koristi, ki se ne merijo z gospodarsko rastjo. Z razširitvijo teh programov pa bo verjetno prišlo do upočasnitve gospodarske rasti, zato je treba to vedno upoštevati. Če ima program dovolj drugih koristi, si bo družba kot celota morda želela nižjo gospodarsko rast v zameno za več socialnih programov.


Center virov

Skozi zgodovino je imela vsaka organizirana družba neko obliko vladanja. V svobodnih družbah so bili cilji vlade zaščita individualnih svoboščin in spodbujanje blaginje družbe kot celote.

Za pokrivanje svojih stroškov država potrebuje dohodek, imenovan & quotrevenue, & quot;, ki ga zbira z davki. Pri nas vlade posameznikom in podjetjem zaračunavajo več različnih vrst davkov. Zvezna vlada se za svoje prihodke opira predvsem na dohodnino. Državne vlade so odvisne od davka od dohodka in od prodaje. Večina občinskih in mestnih oblasti uporablja davke na nepremičnine za povečanje svojih prihodkov.

Vladne storitve

Naše ameriško gospodarstvo temelji na sistemu prostega podjetništva. Potrošniki se lahko sami odločijo, kako bodo porabili ali vlagali svoj čas in denar. Cilj proizvajalcev je ustvariti dobiček z zadovoljevanjem povpraševanja potrošnikov. Odprta konkurenca med proizvajalci običajno povzroči njihovo najboljšo kakovost blaga ali storitev po najnižjih možnih cenah.

Sistem prostih podjetij ne proizvaja vseh storitev, ki jih družba potrebuje. Nekatere storitve so učinkovitejše, če jih vladne agencije načrtujejo in upravljajo. Dva dobra primera sta obramba države in državna ali lokalna policijska zaščita. Te storitve imajo vsi koristi, najbolj praktičen način plačila pa je z davki, namesto s sistemom storitev. Drugi primeri so upravljanje z našimi naravnimi viri, kot je oskrba z vodo ali zemljišča v javni lasti, ter gradnja bolnišnic ali avtocest. Davki se zbirajo za plačilo načrtovanja teh storitev ter za financiranje gradnje ali vzdrževanja. Prihodki se pobirajo tudi z uporabninami, na primer na vhodih v nacionalne parke ali na cestninskih postajah na avtocestah in mostovih.

Varno in zdravo okolje koristi družbi. V sistemu prostih podjetij pa je pogosto malo spodbud za podjetja, da plačajo dodatne stroške za vzdrževanje tovrstnega okolja. Zato vlada uvaja predpise za proizvajalce, kot so avtomobilski proizvajalci, ki morajo namestiti nadzor nad onesnaženostjo zraka. Te kontrole pogosto dodajajo stroške ceni novih avtomobilov. Obstajajo tudi predpisi za nadzor takih stvari, kot je uporaba oglasnih panojev in napisov ob avtocestah. Drugi predpisi nadzorujejo vračanje zemljišč po izkopu traku, odlaganje industrijskih odpadkov v potoke in reke ter onesnaženje s hrupom na letališčih.

Sistem brezplačnih podjetij temelji na konkurenci med podjetji. S konkurenco preživijo le najučinkovitejša podjetja. Da bi zagotovila določeno stopnjo konkurence, zvezna vlada uveljavlja stroge zakone o kvantitativnem zaupanju in preprečuje, da bi kdo pridobil monopol nad trgom.

Nekatere storitve, znane kot "naravni monopoli", so učinkoviteje zagotovljene, ko obstaja konkurenca. Najbolj znani primeri so komunalna podjetja, ki zagotavljajo vodo, zemeljski plin in električno energijo za domačo in poslovno rabo. Ker ni konkurence, vladne agencije skrbno urejajo storitve, cene in dobiček komunalnih podjetij.

Sistem prostega podjetja predvideva, da so potrošniki dobro seznanjeni s kakovostjo ali varnostjo tega, kar kupujejo. Vendar pa v naši sodobni družbi potrošniki pogosto ne morejo sprejeti informiranih odločitev. Zaradi javne zaščite vladne agencije na zvezni, državni in lokalni ravni izdajajo in uveljavljajo predpise. Obstajajo predpisi, ki zajemajo kakovost in varnost stvari, kot so gradnja doma, avtomobili in električne naprave. Obstajajo tudi predpisi o finančnih storitvah bank, zavarovalnic in borznih posrednikov. Druga pomembna oblika varstva potrošnikov je uporaba licenc za preprečitev dela nekvalificiranih ljudi na določenih področjih, kot so medicina ali gradbeništvo.

Naši otroci se izobražujejo predvsem na javne stroške. Mestne in okrajne oblasti imajo primarno odgovornost za osnovno in srednje izobraževanje. Večina držav podpira fakultete in univerze. Zvezna vlada podpira izobraževanje z nepovratnimi sredstvi za osnovno, srednje in poklicno izobraževanje. Zvezne štipendije za raziskave so pomemben vir denarja za fakultete in univerze.

Od tridesetih let prejšnjega stoletja je zvezna vlada zagotavljala dohodek ali storitve, ki jih pogosto imenujejo "mreža varnosti", za tiste, ki jo potrebujejo. Glavni programi vključujejo zdravstvene storitve za starejše in finančno pomoč invalidom in brezposelnim. Drugi veliki programi vključujejo finančno pomoč družinam z vzdrževanimi otroki in socialne storitve za posameznike in družine z nizkimi dohodki.

Davki v Združenih državah

Davki na dohodek

Vsi davki na dohodek niso obdavčeni na enak način. Na primer, davkoplačevalci, ki so lastniki delnic v družbi in jih nato prodajo z dobičkom ali izgubo, morajo o tem poročati po posebnem urniku. Ta postavka in vsi drugi dobički ali izgube se izračunajo ločeno, preden se prištejejo k drugemu prihodku. Za primerjavo, obresti, ki jih zaslužijo z denarjem na običajnem varčevalnem računu, se vključijo v plače, plače in druge "neobičajne" dohodke. Na voljo so tudi številne vrste varčevalnih načrtov, oproščenih davkov in odloženih davkov, ki vplivajo na davke ljudi.

Davki na izplačane plače so pomemben vir prihodkov zvezne vlade. Delodajalci so odgovorni za plačilo teh davkov, ki vključujejo zavarovanje socialne varnosti in nadomestilo za primer brezposelnosti. Zaposleni v program socialne varnosti vplačujejo tudi denar, zadržan od plač. Nekatere vlade držav uporabljajo tudi davke na izplačane plače za plačilo državnih programov za nadomestilo brezposelnosti.

Z leti se je znesek plačanih davkov na socialno varnost močno povečal. To je zato, ker je v sistem manj delavcev, ki zdaj plačujejo vse upokojence. Danes nekateri delavci plačujejo več davka na socialno varnost kot dohodnine.

Davki na porabo

Trošarine, ki jih včasih imenujejo tudi "quotluxury davki", uporabljajo tako državna kot zvezna vlada. Primeri postavk, za katere veljajo zvezne trošarine, so težke pnevmatike, ribiška oprema, letalske karte, bencin, pivo in alkohol, strelno orožje in cigarete.

Cilj obdavčitve trošarin je breme plačila davka na potrošnika. Dober primer te uporabe trošarin je trošarina na bencin. Vlade porabijo prihodke od tega davka za gradnjo in vzdrževanje avtocest, mostov in sistemov množičnega tranzita. Davek plačujejo samo ljudje, ki kupujejo bencin - ki uporabljajo avtoceste.

Nekateri izdelki so obdavčeni, da se prepreči njihova uporaba. To velja za trošarine na alkohol in tobak. Trošarine se uporabljajo tudi med vojno ali državnimi izrednimi razmerami. Z zvišanjem stroškov za redke izdelke lahko vlada zmanjša povpraševanje po teh izdelkih.

Davki na premoženje in bogastvo

Davek na nepremičnine je glavni vir prihodkov lokalne uprave. Večina krajev obdavčuje zasebne domove, zemljišča in poslovne nepremičnine glede na vrednost nepremičnine. Običajno se davki plačujejo skupaj s hipoteko. Tisti, ki ima hipoteko, na primer banka, hrani denar na računu & quotescrow & quot. Plačila se nato izvedejo za lastnika nepremičnine.

Nekatere državne in lokalne oblasti tudi uvajajo davke na vrednost nekaterih vrst "osebne" premoženja. Primeri osebne lastnine, ki je pogosto obdavčena, so avtomobili, čolni, vozila za rekreacijo in živina.

Davki na nepremičnine predstavljajo več kot tri četrtine prihodkov, zbranih z davki na premoženje. Drugi davki na bogastvo vključujejo davke na dediščino, nepremičnine in darila.

Zvezni davek na dohodek

Temeljno načelo, na katerem temelji zakonodaja ZDA o dohodnini, je, da morajo biti ljudje obdavčeni glede na njihovo & količino plačila. & Quot Davkoplačevalci z enakim skupnim dohodkom morda nimajo enake plačilne sposobnosti. Tisti, ki imajo visoke zdravstvene stroške, hipotekarne obresti ali druge dopustne stroške, lahko te zneske odštejejo kot "kvotemizirane odbitke", da zmanjšajo svoje obdavčljive dohodke. Podobno lahko davčni zavezanci odštejejo določen znesek v svojih davčnih napovedih za vsako dovoljeno & ponudbo. & Quot Z znižanjem obdavčljivega dohodka te oprostitve in odbitki podpirajo osnovno načelo obdavčitve glede na plačilno sposobnost.

Tisti z visokimi obdavčljivimi dohodki plačujejo večji odstotek svojega dohodka v davkih. Ta odstotek je "kvotna stopnja". Ker tisti, ki imajo višje obdavčljive dohodke, plačujejo višji odstotek, je zvezna dohodnina "progresivna" dajatev.

Za primerjavo se prodajne in trošarinske dajatve štejejo za "kvotregresivne." Ker je blago obdavčeno po enakem odstotku, tisti z nižjimi dohodki plačujejo večji odstotek svojega dohodka pri prodaji in trošarinah. Zvezni davki na dohodek se zbirajo po sistemu »odplačilo po povzetju«. Večina delodajalcev mora zadrževati davke iz plač svojih zaposlenih in denar poslati v depozit v Splošni sklad zakladnice. Samozaposleni posamezniki in podjetja morajo davke plačevati v rednih obrokih, znanih kot ocenjena davčna plačila. Plačevanje davkov z odtegljajem ali ocenjenimi davki med letom pomaga zmanjšati državne stroške za izposojanje denarja. Zagotavlja tudi lažjo metodo za plačevanje davkov za davkoplačevalce. Da bi znižali stroške pobiranja, služba za notranje prihodke od vseh davkoplačevalcev pričakuje, da bodo prostovoljno ravnali v skladu z zakonodajo. Večina davkoplačevalcev ugotovi, koliko davka naj bi plačali in predloži svojo dohodninsko napoved do datuma, ko je ta dolžan. Brez te prostovoljne skladnosti bi pobiranje enakega zneska prihodkov stalo službo za notranje prihodke veliko več.

Vaš zvezni dolar

Zvezna vlada deluje v proračunskem letu, ki se začne 1. oktobra in konča 30. septembra. Večina prihodkov zvezne vlade izvira iz dohodnine. Drugi viri prihodkov so socialni in drugi zavarovalni davki in prispevki, davki od dohodkov pravnih oseb, trošarine.

Zvezni prejemki se porabijo za številne programe. Med največjimi so socialna varnost in Medicare. Drugi velik del zvezne porabe je namenjen obrambi države in vključuje pokojnine za upokojeno vojaško osebje ter dejavnosti, povezane z obrambo, povezane z jedrsko energijo.

Drugi pomembni odhodki države so neto obresti ali plačila obresti za javni dolg, zmanjšane za obresti, ki jih prejmejo skrbniški skladi, in druge obresti, ki jih država prejema. Zvezna vlada si izposoja denar s prodajo zakladnih vrednostnih papirjev (menice, bankovci in obveznice), ameriških varčevalnih obveznic in drugih vrednostnih papirjev.

Programi varnosti dohodka, vključno z nadomestili za primer brezposelnosti, upokojitvenimi in invalidskimi programi ter ugodnostmi, kot so kuponi za hrano in stanovanjske subvencije, izvirajo tudi iz prihodkov zvezne vlade. Zvezna vlada porablja tudi denar za zdravstveno oskrbo, vključno s pomočjo revnim v okviru programa Medicaid, usposabljanjem zdravstvenih delavcev in medicinskimi raziskovalnimi dejavnostmi.

Izobraževalni programi se financirajo tudi iz zveznih prihodkov. Ti programi vključujejo izobraževanje, usposabljanje in socialne storitve, kot so štipendije za osnovne, srednje in poklicne šole ter pomoč fakultetam in univerzam. V to kategorijo so vključene tudi državne subvencije za programe socialnih storitev.

Veterani in njihovi vzdrževani člani prejemajo tudi dajatve zvezne vlade. To je vključevalo pokojnine, zdravstvene storitve, izobraževanje in programe življenjskega zavarovanja.

Promet je še ena kategorija porabe in vključuje nepovratna sredstva državam in lokalnim oblastem za gradnjo avtocest, sistemov množičnega tranzita in letališč. V to kategorijo so vključeni tudi stroški upravljanja obalne straže, ureditve letalskih poti ter pomoči železnicam in ladijskega prometa.

Obstaja veliko drugih storitev in dejavnosti zvezne vlade, vključno z varovanjem naravnih virov, varstvom okolja in vzdrževanjem rekreacijskih območij in javnih zemljišč. Poleg tega je na voljo pomoč tujim državam, pomoč ob nesrečah ter razvoj skupnosti in regije. Druge vladne storitve so energetske raziskave, razvoj in ohranjanje ter raziskovanje vesolja in druge znanstvene raziskave. Vlada mora skupaj z zveznimi organi kazenskega pregona in zveznimi zapori plačati svoje upravne dejavnosti, plačila poštni službi, pomoč malim podjetjem in zavarovanje financiranja hipotekarnih posojil. Nazadnje, vlada zagotavlja sredstva za subvencije pridelkov, kmetijske raziskave in ohranjanje kmetijskih zemljišč.


Top 20 najslabših načinov, kako je vlada zapravila vaše davčne dolarje

Senator iz Oklahome Tom Coburn in njegovo osebje vsako leto sestavijo izčrpen obseg potratne državne porabe iz tega leta. Knjiga 2014 je polna vladnih odpadkov, od odvečnih do naravnost absurdnih. Oh, in mimogrede, državni dolg ZDA se približuje 18 bilijonom dolarjev.

Tu je seznam mojih osebnih najslabših najslabših zveznih odpadkov:

Švedske masaže za zajce: 387.000 USD

Nacionalni inštitut za zdravje je ta šestmestni znesek plačal

za brezplačno in alternativno medicino, da bi ugotovili, ali bi švedske masaže pomagale pri okrevanju po bolezni.

"Skupina zajcev je vsakodnevno prejemala" mehanske naprave, ki simulirajo dolge, tekoče poteze, ki se uporabljajo pri švedskih masažah. "

Poučevanje gorskih levov za vožnjo na tekalni stezi: 856.000 USD

Nacionalna znanstvena fundacija je izločila skoraj milijon dolarjev davkoplačevalcev, da bi ugotovila, ali bi ujete gorske leve lahko usposobili za vožnjo na tekalni stezi. Raziskovalec Univerze v Kaliforniji-Santa Cruz se je celo pohvalil, da je prejel štipendijo: "Ljudje preprosto niso verjeli, da lahko gorskega leva dobite na tekalni stezi, in tri leta sem potreboval, da sem našel objekt, ki bi ga bil pripravljen poskusiti." Če se je kdo spraševal, so levi potrebovali osem mesecev za učenje.

Proučevanje, kolikokrat "lačni" ljudje zabodejo vudu punčko: 331.000 dolarjev

Po tem, ko je gorske leve poučila o tekalnih stezah, je Nacionalna znanstvena fundacija financirala tudi študijo, da bi prišla do samoumevnega zaključka, da so lačni ljudje bolj jezni in agresivni. To teorijo so preizkusili tako, da sta zakoncu dovolila, da je z naraščanjem "obešalnika" zabodel žeblje v lutke vudu.

»V enaindvajsetih zaporednih večerih je 107 parov dobilo priložnost, da vlečejo do 51 zatičev v punčko vudu, ki predstavlja njihovega zakonca. Potiskanje pin se je zgodilo na skrivaj, stran od drugega partnerja. Udeleženci so nato zabeležili število zatičev, ki so jih vtaknili v punčke. Ti testi so pokazali, kar je marsikomu že očitno: zakonec z nizkim krvnim sladkorjem je bil bolj jezen in je v punčko vtaknil več zatičev. "

Proučevanje igralnih navad opic: 171.000 dolarjev

Druga štipendija NSF je financirala študijo opic na srečo. Pod krinko preučevanja »pristranskosti z vročimi rokami« pri človeških igralcih igre je

oblikoval računalniško igro, opice naučil igrati in preučeval, kako se odzivajo na zmage in poraze. Zdelo se je, da je doktorski kandidat, ki je delal na študiju, vesel: "Na srečo opice radi igrajo na srečo." Po drugi strani pa davkoplačevalci ne bodo zadovoljni, če se bo ta študija nadaljevala do maja 2018.

Produkcija otroškega muzikala: Zaljubljeni zombi: 10.000 USD

ype = "node" naslovno besedilo-dekoracija: podčrtaj font-weight: bold "> Financiranje" Stonerjeve simfonije ": 15.000 USD

Lokacija te predstave ne bi smela nikogar šokirati. Davkoplačevalce bo zagotovo šokiral znesek njihovega denarja, ki so ga Koloradskemu simfoničnemu orkestru namenili za gostovanje »Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series«. Ne samo, da je bil program povezan z lonci, ljudi so med gledanjem spodbudili, da vdihnejo (in se zadušijo).

"Eden od treh koncertov, imenovan Summer Monsoon, je bil na svojem spletnem mestu oglaševan na naslednji način:" Zakadi se in napolni svoj trebuh z začinjeno svinjino Manna, piščancem iz sezamovih semen Teriyaki in amp Filipino Empanadas. ""

Subvencioniranje Alpaca Poop: 50.000 USD

Poleg tega projekta, ki je bil namenjen senatorju Coburnu, je ta mali dragulj prejšnji mesec zajel tudi CNSNews.com. Ameriško ministrstvo za kmetijstvo je izločilo zajeten znesek za pomoč pri razvoju in trženju Alpaca "Poop Packs" za uporabo kot gnojilo. To so dobesedno vladni odpadki.

Sinhrono plavanje za morske opice: 307.524 USD

Ta projekt je dobil podporo treh vladnih agencij (Nacionalne znanstvene fundacije, Urada za pomorske raziskave in Ameriško-izraelske dvonacionalne znanstvene fundacije). V prizadevanju za preučevanje vrtinčenja, ki nastane, ko se morske opice premikajo po vodi, so raziskovalci razvili "lasersko vodeno", "koreografirano" ekipo sinhrono plavajočih morskih opic.

Naredite "Halucininatorno" Rooseveltovo/Elvisovo predstavo: 10.000 USD

V tem, kar bi bil verjetno najbolj čuden projekt na tem seznamu, je NEA pomagala financirati produkcijo oddaje o halucinantnem potovanju dekleta, ki se pretvarja, da je Elvis, in se poglablja z 26. ameriškim predsednikom.

"V enem prizoru Ann halucinira, da je ona Elvis in da se s Teddyjem v spodnjem perilu sprehajata po hotelski sobi, Teddy pa se na koncu jaha na Elvisovem hrbtu, kot da je kreten."

Financiranje videoigre alarma o podnebnih spremembah: 5,2 milijona dolarjev

Ker ankete kažejo, da so podnebne spremembe zadnje na seznamu prednostnih nalog Američanov, je NSF menil, da je treba pomagati "spodbuditi aktivizem na področju podnebnih sprememb". Plačali so

za razvoj video igre z naslovom »

, «Kjer naraščajoče morje povzroča množični kaos in vremenske katastrofe epskih razsežnosti. Zgodba je postavljena na kup glasovnih sporočil prihodnosti, ki opisujejo anarhijo.

"Eden od klicalcev trdi, da" neo-ludditi "želijo ubiti vsakogar z znanstvenimi spoznanji, 496, drugi pa naslika skrivnostno podobo apokalipse zombija in pravi, da" ko jih boste videli, boste vedeli, kaj morate storiti. ""

Naučiti otroke smeha: 47.000 USD

Razred, ki ga financira Nacionalna fundacija za humanistične vede na UCLA in

študente učiti smeha. Na seminarju, kot je "Zakaj je smešno", se bo študent verjetno naučil "kako se smeh poigrava z našimi zaznavami" in "ali je komedija" fantovska stvar "."

"" Kot končni projekt bodo študentje razvili bodisi stoječo rutino bodisi "komedijo" z orodji digitalnega pripovedovanja zgodb. "

Razvoj resnične obleke Iron Man: 80 milijonov dolarjev

Zdi se, da DoD skuša izkoristiti priljubljenost filmov Iron Man, da bi razvil svojo lastno repliko iz resničnega življenja. Pentagon, imenovan TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit), bo naslednja štiri leta poskušal zgraditi obleko iz "vojaškega super oklepa, ki bo zdržala naboje in nosila na stotine funtov, vse iz [a] futurističnega vira energije". Obstaja pa ena majhna težava, ki ne deluje:

"Medtem ko promocijski videoposnetek programa TALOS prikazuje naboje, ki se odbijajo od risanega vojaka, oblečenega v obleko, so terenski testi doslej ugotovili, da se vojaki trudijo teči, se potapljati in streljati, ko uporabljajo pravo stvar."

Tweetanje pri teroristih: 3 milijone dolarjev

State Department se želi boriti proti teroristom

in Al-Kaide na spletu, pa tudi na bojišču. Njegov novi program naj bi "nasprotoval sofisticiranim propagandnim strojem terorističnih skupin po vsem svetu". Vendar pa je bila njihova kampanja na Twitterju "Think Again, Turn Away" skoraj povsod predstavljena kot ne le neučinkovita, ampak tudi kontraproduktivna.

"Nedavni komentator v reviji Time Magazine je to izrekel bolj odkrito in dejal:" Ta odmev ameriške vlade ni le neučinkovit, ampak tudi džihadistom omogoča, da izrazijo svoje argumente. ''

Napoved konca človeštva: 30.000 dolarjev

V nasprotju z iskanjem novih načinov za raziskovanje sončnega sistema namesto tega NASA porabi svoj proračun za študijo, da bi napovedala, kako se bo svet končal. Raziskovalci iz

in Minnesota se je vrnila z zanimivim in politično ugodnim odgovorom: dohodkovna neenakost. Opozorili so, da je "neenakomerna porazdelitev bogastva" "privedla do civilizacijskega kolapsa".

Financiranje otrok, ki se oblačijo kot sadje in zelenjava: 5 milijonov dolarjev

uporabil 5 milijonov dolarjev davkoplačevalskega denarja, ki je študentom omogočil, da so se oblekli v sadje in zelenjavo v poskusu spodbujanja zdravih prehranjevalnih navad. "Učenci so ustvarili izraz" fruved "za opis" procesa prehranjevanja " FRUnjen in VEžitarice. '"

"Učenci so razdeljeni v pet ekip - zabavno označene špinača, korenček, banana, grozdje in paradižnik -, ki jih vodijo kostumirane maskote."

Pomagajte staršem pri preprečevanju zavrnitve otrok pri uživanju sadja in zelenjave: 804 254 USD

V poskusu pomoči staršem po vsej Ameriki, katerih otroci niso hoteli jesti zelenjave, je NIH financiral igro za pametne telefone, imenovano "Kiddio: Food Fight". Igra naj bi staršem pomagala pri preprečevanju prefinjenih izpodbojev iz otroštva, kot je "Yuk!"

"Starši bodo izbrali zelenjavo, ki bo ponudili Kiddio, nato pa izbrali taktiko, s katero bodo vplivali na Kiddio, da bo jedel zelenjavo."

Izgubljene Nasine elektronske naprave: 1,1 milijona dolarjev

Zdi se, da je na tisoče agencij pod pogojem, da se elektronika izgubi v vesolju. NASA ni spremljala tisoče pametnih telefonov, tabličnih računalnikov in letalskih kartic, ki so jih posredovali svojim zaposlenim. Hkrati je "Več kot 2000 naprav-14 odstotkov celotne lastnine agencije-od leta 2013 do 2014 ostalo v uporabi najmanj 7 mesecev." Na seznamu izgubljenih predmetov agencije so navedli »prenosne računalnike, videokasete, in lunine kamnine. "

Preučevanje, ali je Wikipedia seksistična: 202.000 USD

NSF je raziskovalcem NYU in Yale poslal skoraj četrt milijona dolarjev, da preučijo, ali na spletni strani Wikipedia obstaja pristranskost spolov. Ker lahko Wikipedijo ureja skoraj vsak, je študija sledila "obtožbam o seksizmu v vsebini in med sodelavci na Wikipediji". Eden od primerov seksizma, ki so ga odkrili raziskovalci, je bila prava bomba:

Prispevki Wikipedije so bili pristranski, ker so nekatere pisateljice označili kot "ameriške pisateljice" na Wikipediji in ne kot "ameriške romanopiske".

Težke pivce prosite, naj ne pijejo prek besedilnega sporočila: 194 090 USD

Raziskovalci nameravajo z uporabo tega zneska davkoplačevalskega denarja izvesti študijo, v kateri pišejo besedam "močno pivajo", jih opozorijo, naj ne pijejo, in spremljajo, ali se v resnici napijejo.

»Na primer, nekateri študijski subjekti bodo dnevno prejemali 15.00. besedilno sporočilo, ki jih spominja na posledice pitja alkohola. "

Sladoled, ki ga financira država: 1,2 milijona dolarjev

USDA plačuje kmetovalcem mleka za proizvodnjo sladoleda in številnih drugih mlečnih izdelkov:

»V Wisconsinu in New Yorku sta kmečka zadruga in mlekarna prejeli nepovratna sredstva za razširitev proizvodnje in trženja ekološkega grškega jogurta. Kmetija v Missouriju bo dotacijo, ki jo je prejela, uporabljala tudi za proizvodnjo jogurta, vendar iz ovčjega mleka. Kmetija v

Pennsylvania

prejela tudi nepovratna sredstva za razširitev poslovanja z jogurti, vendar bo nekaj denarja uporabila za izgradnjo mehiškega podjetja s čokolado. "


Amazon je moral prvič po letu 2016 plačati zvezne davke na dohodek - tukaj 's koliko

Ko je izvršni direktor Amazona Jeff Bezos na Twitterju objavil svojo sliko s pevcem in raperjem Lizzom na Super Bowlu v Miamiju, češ da je bil "100% največji oboževalec Lizza '", je bil odgovor Twitterja bolj povezan z njegovim 1% statusom: Plačilo davki, so dejali uporabniki Twitterja.

Toda prvič po letu 2016 kritiki Amazon 's niso mogli pokazati##x27s na neobstoječi zvezni davčni račun tehnološkega velikana.

To je zato, ker je Amazon dejansko dolgoval zvezni vladi denar v letu 2019. Po dveh zaporednih letih plačevanja zveznega davka na dohodek v ZDA je bil Amazon leta 2019 na udaru za račun v višini 162 milijonov dolarjev, je družba zapisala v vlogi SEC v četrtek.

Seveda je 162 milijonov dolarjev še vedno le delček 13,9 milijard dolarjev prihodkov Amazon pred obdavčitvijo, ki so jih poročali za leto 2019-v resnici približno 1,2%. Zvezna stopnja davka od dohodkov pravnih oseb je 21%, vendar je tako kot v preteklosti Amazon verjetno uporabil različne davčne olajšave in odbitke za zmanjšanje svojega zveznega davčnega računa. Amazon also reported $280.5 billion in total revenue in 2019.

Amazon has been the subject of much criticism over the fact that the company's final federal tax burden has been particularly lacking in recent years. The company also came under fire for seeking huge tax incentives worth billions of dollars as part of its search for a second headquarters, or "HQ2," in 2018.

In 2018, Amazon posted income of more than $11 billion, but the company paid in federal taxes. In fact, thanks to tax credits and deductions, Amazon actually received a federal tax refund of $129 million. That was a year after Amazon received a $137 million refund from the federal government for 2017.

President Donald Trump is a frequent critic of Amazon for paying "little or no taxes to state and local governments," though the Trump Administration's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped to lower the statutory corporate tax rate.

In February 2019, Senator Bernie Sanders pointed out in a tweet that any one of the company's roughly 150 million Amazon Prime members would have paid more for that program's annual fee ($119) than Amazon paid in federal taxes for 2018 or 2017.

In a blog post on Thursday, Amazon touted the fact that the company had "over $1 billion in federal income tax expense" in 2019. However, that total includes the $162 million federal tax bill, as well as another $914 million federal tax bill that the company says has been deferred until a later date. (Federal tax laws companies to delay tax payments on certain income, including some foreign earnings and long-term investments in items such as equipment or machinery.)

Amazon also reported $276 million in state tax payments in 2019, as well as an international tax bill of more than $1.1 billion, according to Thursday's SEC filing. And, the company notes in its blog post that Amazon also paid roughly $2.4 billion "in payroll taxes and customs duties" in 2019.

However, paying something like payroll tax is hardly something to boast about, according to Matthew Gardner, a senior fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, or ITEP, a nonpartisan and nonprofit tax policy think tank. In a blog post responding to Amazon's release of its 2019 tax bill, Gardner notes that "economists agree that payroll taxes are ultimately paid by employees in the form of reduced compensation."


Calculating the Conversion Tax

With the above $10,000 example that had $2,000 in after-tax contributions, the $2,000 conversion would play out as follows:

  • Total account value = $10,000
  • After-tax contributions = $2,000
  • Pre-tax contributions = $8,000
  • $2,000 / $10,000 = 20%
  • $2,000 converted x 20% = $400 converted tax-free
  • $1,600 subject to income tax

The same would apply to earnings in the account. Let’s say your account had increased to $15,000, and you want to convert $2,000.

  • After-tax contributions = $2,000
  • Pre-tax contributions = $8,000
  • Earnings = $5,000
  • $2,000 / $15,000 = 13%
  • $2,000 x 13% = $260 converted tax-free
  • $1,740 subject to income tax

Seven ways Americans pay taxes

As Americans across the country rang in the new year, many were unaware that, at midnight, more than 50 different tax breaks expired. According to the Tax Foundation, among them were credits for everything from building motorsports facilities, producing biofuels, conducting business research and development, and even training a mine rescue team.

Clearly, the U.S. tax system can be very complex. Understanding the basics, especially the different types of taxes you may face, can be a valuable tool in financial planning.

Not all taxes are paid at the same time. Some, for example, are deducted from your paycheck. "Generally, three types of taxes will show up on a worker's pay stub: federal income taxes, payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare), and state income taxes," Andrew Lundeen, manager of federal projects at the Tax Foundation, told 24/7 Wall St.

Other taxes, however, are levied at the register. State and local governments collect sales taxes on individual goods and services. Similarly, governments charge excise taxes on specific items, including gasoline and cigarettes.

Not all authorities levy the same types of taxes. Income taxes serve as the largest source of revenue for the federal government, accounting for over 40% of yearly tax revenue. And according to projections from the Congressional Budget Office, income taxes, as well as social insurance taxes, should continue to account for the bulk of the U.S. government's tax revenue going forward.

At the state level, the picture is a bit more mixed. Different states use different tax structures to raise money for the various services they provide. While some states rely heavily on income taxes, others depend primarily on sales or property taxes. A few states, including Florida and Texas, have no personal income tax. Others "follow a structure similar to the federal [tax] code, but with different brackets and much lower rates," explained Lundeen.

Counties, cities, and other local areas often levy taxes to raise money as well. Property taxes, Lundeen noted, "are generally charged at the local level in order to pay for services such as schools, police and fire departments, and parks." Similarly, localities often charge an additional sales tax.

Not all taxes apply to everyone. The federal estate tax, often the subject of controversy, applies only after death and only if the estate is worth $5.34 million or more. Also, you may be able to avoid paying a number of excise taxes if you do not smoke, drink, or gamble. However, some excise taxes may be harder to avoid, including those levied on cell phone services, hotel stays, and gasoline purchases, according to Lundeen.

Here are seven ways Americans pay taxes.

Income taxes can be charged at the federal, state and local levels. At the federal level, the amount paid depends on a number of factors, including income and marital status. Lundeen noted the U.S. has a progressive tax system, consisting of seven tax brackets. He added, "for each additional dollar in a new bracket, you pay that bracket's tax rate." There are also a number of credits. For one, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) gives a tax credit to low and moderate earners.

State income tax structures vary considerably. Some states, such as Florida, do not levy an income tax at all. A few states use a single income tax rate, while many states apply different tax rates depending on income.

Sales taxes are taxes on goods and services purchased. These are usually calculated as a percentage of the price paid. Sales taxes vary by state, and even by municipality. In some states, there are no sales taxes at either the state or local level. Other states and local authorities can charge a hefty amount. In Tennessee, for example, consumers can pay as much as 9.44% in sales taxes when combining state and local taxes, according to the Tax Foundation. In 12 states, sales taxes are higher than 8%. Sales taxes are often considered to be regressive, meaning lower-income individuals and households spend a greater proportion of their earnings to pay the tax, compared to higher income residents.

Excise taxes are similar to broad sales taxes, except they are charged on specific goods. States typically tax certain purchases, including gas, cigarettes, beer and liquor. Excise taxes are frequently levied on so-called "sin products," and often are intended not only to help raise money, but also to deter unhealthy behaviors. The federal government also collects such taxes, including 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel, as well as a 10% charge for tanning services. Excise taxes are often combined with sales taxes on a single purchase. According to Lundeen, in many cases a sales tax is paid on top of an excise tax.

Both employees and employers have to pay the Social Security tax, one of two payroll taxes. For the Social Security tax, employees pay 6.2% of their wages, and employers match that for a total contribution of 12.4%. In 2013, the maximum earnings subject to the tax were $117,000. In 2011 and 2012, the amount employees had to contribute briefly declined to 4.2% of wages, as part of a payroll tax holiday designed to encourage people to spend more and boost the U.S. economy.

A similar tax also exists for Medicare. Both employees and employers are required to contribute 1.45% of wages, or 2.9% in total, to fund the program. Unlike Social Security, there is no maximum taxable wage. In fact, since last year, workers who earned more than $200,000 had to contribute an extra 0.9% of their wages to the program.

Property taxes are usually imposed to fund local services. According to the Tax Foundation's Lundeen, these taxes are based on the property's market value, and are most often levied on real estate, but can also apply to other property, such as cars. In many instances, these taxes are deductible. However, according to the IRS, property taxes on real estate are only deductible if they are used to promote the "general public welfare," but not if they are used "for local benefits and improvements that increase the value of the property." Many homeowners also qualify for a mortgage interest deduction.

The IRS defines an estate tax as "a tax on your right to transfer property at your death." The estate tax is controversial, as it is seen by some as a penalty for dying. Cash, securities, insurance, real estate, and business interests are among the items considered part of an estate. However, for individuals, only estates exceeding $5.34 million are taxed by the federal government. Most Americans, therefore, are exempt from paying the federal estate tax. The highest estate tax rate charged at the federal level is 40%.

Estate taxes are also often levied at the state level. While states frequently use lower rates, they also often have lower exemptions than the federal government's $5.34 million cutoff. Some states have an inheritance tax, where the rate you pay depends on your relation to the deceased.

The gift tax is similar to the estate tax, in that it is a tax on transferring wealth. One important difference is that gift taxes involve two living people, Lundeen added. The federal government also has a far lower exemption level for the gift tax than it does for the estate tax. All gifts over $14,000 are taxable, with the tax to be paid by the recipient. The highest gift tax rate is 40% of the taxable gift amount. This tax applies not only to cash, but also to gifts like company shares or cars. Last year, Minnesota became the second state to implement its own gift tax, following Connecticut.

24/7 Wall St. is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.


How Income Taxes Work

There's nothing quite like the excitement and pride of receiving your very first paycheck. You worked hard for a solid month, and here's your much-deserved compensation. But wait a second . what's the story with this line that says "net pay?" That can't be your actual salary, could it? What happened to all of your money? By the time you get your paycheck, it's been cut up like a pizza, with several government agencies taking a piece of the pie. Exactly how much money is withheld from each check varies from person to person, company to company and state to state. However, almost every income earner has to pay federal income tax.

We generally don't think much about taxes except during the annual tax season. It's probably the most dreaded time of the year for millions of Americans, yet we circle it on our calendars, along with holidays and birthdays. But little joy is connected to April 15, the deadline for filing tax forms. (This deadline doesn't always fall on the 15th. In 2012, Tax Day was Tuesday, April 17 because the 15th was a Sunday and the 16th was a holiday in Washington, D.C. [source: Kaufman].)

The American tax system is a huge machine with a tax code that seems more complex than rocket science. In this article, we will examine how individual income taxes work, take a look at the history of income taxes in the United States and consider two alternative tax plans.

Taxes have always left a sour taste in the mouths of American citizens. This national hatred for taxes dates back to the tax burden placed on the American colonies by Great Britain. Colonists were taxed for every consumer good, from tea and tobacco to legal documents. This "obdavčitev brez zastopstva" led to many revolts, such as the Boston Tea Party, in which colonists dumped tea into the Boston Harbor rather than pay the tax on it.

Although the American colonists fought for independence from British rule and British taxes, once the United States government formed, its main source of revenue was derived from placing customs and excise taxes on the same items that had been taxed by Great Britain. In 1812, in an effort to support an expensive war effort, the U.S. government imposed the first sales tax, which was placed on gold, silverware, jewelry and watches. In 1817, internal taxes (taxes on goods and land) were terminated, and the government relied on tariffs (taxes on imports or exports) to support itself. It wasn't until 1862 that the United States imposed the first national income tax [source: Tax Foundation].

To support the Union Army during the American Civil War, Congress passed tax laws in both 1861 and 1862. The office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue was established by the Tax Act of 1862, which stated that the commissioner would have the power to levy and collect taxes. The office also was given the authority to seize property and income in order to enforce the tax laws. These powers remain pretty much the same today, although the Internal Revenue Service (as it's been known since the 1950s) will tell you that enforcement tactics have been toned down a bit [source: IRS].

In 1863, the federal government collected the first income tax. This graduated tax was similar to the income tax we pay today. Those who earned $600 to $10,000 per year paid at a rate of 3 percent. Those who earned in excess of $10,000 paid 5 percent. A flat-rate tax was imposed in 1867. Five years later, in 1872, the national income tax was repealed altogether since the Civil War was long over and revenue needs had declined. The federal government went back to relying mainly on tariffs and excise taxes, such as liquor taxes [source: U.S. Dept. of Treasury].

Spurred on by the Populist Party's 1892 campaign to reduce high tariffs, Congress passed the Income Tax Act of 1894 to make up the difference. This act taxed 2 percent of personal income that was more than $4,000, which only affected the top 10 percent. The income tax was short-lived, as the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down only a year after it was enacted. The justices wrote that the income tax was unconstitutional because it failed to abide by a constitutional guideline. This guideline required that any tax levied directly on people must be levied in proportion to a state's population [source: Our Documents].

In 1913, the income tax became a permanent part of the U.S. government. Congress avoided the constitutional roadblock mentioned above by passing a constitutional amendment. The 16th Amendment reads, "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." The 16th Amendment gave the government the power to levy taxes on people regardless of state population. The Underwood Tariff Act of 1913 included an income-tax section that initiated the progressive system we use today: Those who earned more than $3,000 ($4,000 for married couples) were subject to a 1 percent tax, which increased depending on income and topped out at 7 percent [source: IRS].

During World War II, the federal government began withholding taxes, also known as the pay-as-you-earn taxation system. This gave the government the steady flow of money needed to finance the war effort.

In 2014, the tax brackets range from 10 percent to 39.6 percent [source: Bankrate].

While most Americans only think about taxes when April approaches, the tax collection process actually runs all year long.

The process begins when you start a new job. You and your employer agree on your compensation — an hourly wage or an annual salary — which adds up to your gross or "before tax" income. The next thing you do is fill out a W-4 form. The W-4 form is like a miniature income tax survey. It determines if you are single or married, if you have children or other dependents, if your spouse works and if you have childcare expenses. These are called your personal allowances. The number of allowances listed on the W-4 form determines how much income tax your employer will withhold from each paycheck.

Why does your company do this? Because employers are required by law to withhold income tax from all employee paychecks and deposit the money in a Federal Reserve Bank. This is how the federal government maintains a steady stream of income while also drawing interest on your tax dollars. Instead of paying taxes once a year in April, you really pay them all year long.

The W-4 form is important because it ensures that you aren't paying either too much or too little in federal income tax during the year. Some people love to get a big refund check when they file their tax return in April. But what that really means is that they paid too much income tax during the year. They could have put that money in the bank, invested it, or bought something useful with it rather than letting the IRS borrow it. By adjusting the number of allowances on the W-4 form, you can decrease or increase the amount withheld from each check. That way, there are no big checks or big bills in April. Check your W-4 annually to make sure the information is up to date.

Filing income taxes in April is akin to "settling up" with the IRS. In reality, you've been paying taxes all year long. In April, all you are doing is determining if you paid the right amount. If you paid too much, you get a refund too little and you're writing another check. Income tax forms like the 1040 are notoriously confusing, but that's because they're based on a U.S. tax code that's more than 5,000 pages long [source: Shinske]. Here are the basic steps to completing a tax return:

  1. Start by adding up your bruto dohodek, which includes salary or wages from a job, investment interest income, pensions and annuities. If you have job, your employer will send you a W-2 form in the mail which shows how much you earned and how much income tax was already withheld.
  2. Subtract any prilagoditve (examples: alimony that you paid, deposits in retirement plans, self-employment estimated taxes paid, moving expenses, interest that you paid on a student loan, etc.). The difference is called adjusted gross income (AGI).
  3. Once you know your AGI, you have two choices: Either subtract a standard deduction, or subtract itemized deductions, whichever is greater. Itemized deductions might include medical and dental expenses, charitable contributions, interest on home mortgages, and state and local taxes from the previous year.
  4. Next, subtract personal exemptions. For 2013, the IRS allows you to subtract $3,900 each for you, your spouse and each dependent if your AGI is under a certain amount [source: IRS]. Everything left over is called your taxable income.
  5. This is where it gets a little complicated, because the United States uses a marginal ali progressive tax rate sistem. The more you earn, the higher your tax rate. To determine exactly how much you owe, look up your taxable income on the IRS tax table. Find the number that matches your filing status: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, which is the same as "married filing jointly." That number is your gross tax liability. Don't worry, you have one more chance to lower your tax bill.
  6. From your gross tax liability, subtract any credits. The Child Tax Credit is a big one: $1,000 for each qualifying child. Other credits include the Earned Income Tax Credit (or Earned Income Credit) for low-income working families, which can be as much as $6,000, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit for childcare expenses.
  7. The final number is your net tax. If it's a positive number, you owe money to the IRS. If it's negative, you're getting a refund.

You must file your federal income tax return and pay any taxes owed by April 15. Filing or paying late results in penalties and interest that accrues over time. If you are due a refund, the IRS mails most of them out within two weeks of receiving a return. You could also have the money electronically deposited directly into a bank account.

If you are a freelancer, independent contractor or otherwise self-employed, no one is going to withhold income taxes each time you get paid by a client or customer. Instead, it's your responsibility to pay estimated taxes quarterly based on your taxable income the year before. Not only is it the law (you'll pay a small penalty if you don't), but it allows you to avoid a big tax bill in April.

Humorist and travel writer Stanton Delaplane once offered this lighthearted suggestion for a simplified tax form: "How much money did you make last year? Mail it in." While that may be a drastic way to change the tax system, there has been no shortage of people proposing new tax systems since the 16th Amendment was passed in 1913. If you follow presidential campaigns, there is usually talk from some of the candidates on revising the tax system. Here's a quick look at two of these alternative tax plans.

We currently use a marginal tax system, also called a graduated tax, in which the percentage you pay in taxes varies based on your income. Under a flat tax system, everyone pays the same tax rate no matter how much they earn. Former presidential candidate Steve Forbes proposed a 17 percent flat tax in 1996 and 2000, and Rick Perry floated a 20 percent flat tax in his 2012 presidential campaign [source: Tax Policy Center].

Proponents of a flat-tax system say that it would do away with the complicated tax code and tax forms. The flat tax would need only one form, about the size of a postcard and consisting of only 10 lines. You would merely add up wage, salary and pension income, subtract any personal allowances and pay 17 percent of your taxable income. Deductions and credits would be eliminated under this type of plan. (Perry's proposal did allow a few deductions such as mortgage interest).

Critics of the flat tax say that it would favor the wealthy. Under Rick Perry's plan, a married couple with two children earning $31,000 would lose $5,000 in credits, while the same earning $424,900 would owe nearly $45,000 less in taxes [source: Rampell].

Alternative: National Sales Tax

Even more controversial than the flat tax is the idea of abolishing the federal income tax entirely by repealing the 16th Amendment. In place of an income tax, some propose the use of a national sales tax. Many countries around the world levy a national sales tax, also called a value-added tax or VAT. The difference is that most of those countries also collect income taxes. The U.S. backers of a national sales tax want to get rid of the IRS and charge a flat 10 to 25 percent on all retail purchases of new goods and services [source: Montgomery].

What are the benefits of a national sales tax? Like the flat tax, a national sales tax makes tax collection vastly simpler. Workers could keep their entire paycheck and use that money to buy the things that they need.

Proponents of the so-called Fair Tax — a version of the national sales tax — include a provision called a pre-bate. This is a monthly check mailed by the government to lower-income families to subsidize their purchases. Advocates of a national sales tax also argue that a consumption tax collects revenue from everyone, even illegal immigrants, tax dodgers and tourists from other countries [source: FairTax.org].

Opponents of a national sales tax say it would put an unfair burden on the middle and lower classes, who buy a lot of the products that would be taxed. It might reduce consumer spending, thereby slowing the economy. They add that in order for a national sales tax to be fair, it should be applied to the purchase of stocks and bonds in addition to consumer goods. Under the Fair Tax proposal, investments are not taxed, although brokers' fees would be [source: FairTax.org].

Taxes are a bitter subject in almost every country, and the United States has had a decidedly tumultuous relationship with the issue. America has one of the most complicated tax systems in the world, and it grows more complex every year. In the end, whether you agree with paying taxes or not, you probably have April 15 circled on your calendar, embedded in your brain and on your list of dreaded days.

For more information on taxes and related topics, check out the links on the next page.


Direct Taxes

The definition of a direct tax is a tax that is paid straight from the individual or business to the government body that imposes the tax. Examples of direct taxes include individual income taxes (paid to the federal and state governments), corporate taxes (paid on an organization’s profits), and property taxes (paid on the value of real estate).

The federal income tax almost didn’t make it into law because the Supreme Court initially objected to the fact that it was a direct tax, rather than being apportioned among the states based on population. The 16th amendment to the constitution overrode the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1913 and the direct income tax was born.

Direct taxes are based on a percentage of the value of what is being taxed, and they are set by state and federal law.



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