Posted By on April 17, 2006

1040 Tax FormI’ll state it bluntly … “I hate paying taxes.” (but suspect I’m not alone) In an attempt to feel a little better, I’ve noticed that taxes in the US are not as drastic as many European countries and on par with the Japanese. Swedish nationals for example pay over 50% of their earning in taxes which compares to the average US citizen sufferring a 26% tax burden. Most other European countries fall somewhere between the US and Sweden.

1040 Tax FormFor as much as we all are critical of the 66,498 pages of US Tax code, the burden is lighter on those earning less and heavier on living more comfortably. We call this a “progressive” tax structure. “Currently, the 1% of American households with the highest incomes — those earning an average of about $1 million a year — pay about 31% of their income in federal taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The 20% of households with the lowest incomes — those earning an average of about $15,000 a year — pay less than 5% of their incomes in taxes.”

Contrary to many voices in the media and on the political left, today we pay taxes more progressively than a quarter-century ago. The Wall Street Journal reports that “in 1980, households in the bottom 20% of the income distribution earned 5.7% of all income and paid 2% of all federal taxes; in 2003 — the most recent data available — they earned 4.2% of all income and paid 1% of all taxes. Meanwhile, the highest earning 20% of households earned 45.8% of income in 1980 and paid 56.3% of all taxes. In 2003 those high-income households earned 52.2% of income and paid 65.7% of taxes.”

Here are a couple ‘desultory’ Tax Day Facts:

  • Besides being tax day, April 15th is the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, the day President Abraham Lincoln died, the day General Electric was incorporated, the day the Titanic sunk and the day McDonald’s served their first hamburger.
  • Residents of Hawaii pay the highest state taxes and Alabama the least.
  • Residents of New Mexico receive $2 of federal spending in their state for every dollar they pay in federal taxes, while in New Jersey they receive only 55 cents for every dollar they are taxed.
  • Over half of all residents have their taxes professionally prepared by over 1.2 professional tax preparers. Sort of sad considering there are 400,000 more tax preparers than the number of doctors the US. (approximately 836,000)
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    Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

    1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
    2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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