Discover Interesting Income Tax Facts That Might Surprise You

Discover Interesting Income Tax Facts That Might Surprise You

The Federal tax system is highly complex due to an intricate web of deductions, credits and special provisions in the tax code. As a matter of fact, there are over a whopping 10 million words of tax statutes and regulations that only add to its complexity. So, where is all that tax money coming come and how is it getting spent? The Tax Foundation just published their Income Tax Illustrated ebook provides some surprising details to how the federal tax system works. Here's some information taken from that ebook that will give you some insight.

Where is the Tax Money Coming From? 

Almost 50 percent of federal revenue comes from individual income taxes. In 2015, 47.4 percent of federal revenue came from individual income taxes and tallied up to a hefty $1.5 trillion. Eight out of every $10 the government collects comes from individual income taxes and payroll taxes. And payroll taxes are especially important due to the creation of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Other major sources of federal revenue include estate taxes, excise taxes and corporate taxes. Plus, the federal government collects money from overseas trade tariffs, fees and fines. How much has individual income increased over time? Make sure you’re sitting. From 1935 through 2015, the Federal income from the individual income tax has risen from 14.6 percent to 46.2 percent. And it’s projected to rise even more over the next five years.

How are American Tax Dollars Being Spent?

Once Uncle Sam has your tax dollars, it’s used to pay for a variety of federal spending programs. These programs include Social Security, Medicare, Air Force fighter jets and health insurance subsidies. The money is also spent to pay off interest payments on national debt. In 2015, the federal government spent over 65 percent of its budget on mandatory spending programs, such as Medicare. Only 8.9 percent of the federal budget goes to what is coined as “everything else,” such as transportation, education, housing and agriculture.

Who’s Paying What?

For the most part, the federal tax system uses the tax code to help low-income households, lower the tax burden on the middle class and get more taxes from the wealthy. The federal income tax is progressive and imposes a higher rate on those with higher income. The top 1 percent of the highest earners in the nation pay over twice the average income tax rate of the remaining 99 percent of taxpayers. Households with over $1 million in income pay 33.1 percent of their income in taxes. Almost 50 percent of federal revenues comes from households earning over $200,000. Meanwhile, in 2012, lower-income households paid only 2.8 percent of all federal income taxes.

How Does the U.S. Stack Up Compared to Other Developed Countries?

Believe it or not, the U.S. collects less tax revenue than most other developed nations. The U.S. federal, state and local governments collect only 24.4 percent of GDP in taxes, while the average member country of the OECD collects 33.7 percent. Only Chile and Mexico collect less in taxes than the U.S. Other countries like Denmark collect almost double the level of tax revenue than the U.S. But, that’s because its government is significantly larger than the U.S.

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