10 Taxes You're Paying That You Don't Even Know About!
Taxes have always been more than a little confusing. That's why we pay accountants a lot of money to deal with them, so we don't have to. But, what you don't know about taxes, could end up costing you hundreds of extra dollars each year.
Now, I'm not talking about the obvious taxes that are withheld from your paychecks each month. And I'm not talking about sales taxes.
What I am talking about may come as a shock to you. It's shocking because they are things an average individual can't really avoid on a day-to-day basis. These little extra taxes show up on telephone bills, gas, airfare, and some ordinary household expenses.
Take a look at ten of the most popular taxable products and services in the U.S.:
- Tobacco Products
- Food and Alcohol
- Phone Services
- Indoor Tanning
- Hunting and Fishing
Some of the taxes are already built into the price of the products, but many others are discretelylisted on bills, hidden from the consumer.
And it gets better...In the 2011 fiscal year, the federal government anticipates collecting $74.08 billion (according to the Office of Management and Budget) from these “little” extra taxes. With 308.5 million U.S. Citizens (according to census data from 2010), that comes to $240 per person...and maybe more, because we all know not everyone pays his or her fair share of taxes...So the more you spend on those above-listed goods and services, the more taxes you'll pay.
So, let's talk about it. Want to know more about the “excise” taxes if you're going to spend a couple hundred on them this year? Here's what The Fiscal Times has to say about them:
“Excise taxes … are really just ways to raise revenue that don’t really feel like a real tax, that people don’t think about,” said Mark Robyn, an economist at the Tax Foundation, a research organization that advocates for tax reform. “They’re the weakest link in the public’s opposition to taxation. They’re hidden.”
People are naturally pretty grumpy about paying taxes. Hide those taxes, and people get downright angry. And let me forewarn you, there are some relatively new taxes that have been creeping into you budget against your knowing over the past decade.
Perhaps one of the most recent ones that received a lot of negative feedback is the 9 percent meals and rentals tax, beginning on July 1, 2009. No meal costing over 36 cents could be exempted from this tax. Likewise, any hotel visit, car rental, or any other type of room or vehicle rental costing over $0.36 now includes an additional 9 perent tax.
And after the September 11 terrorist attacks back in 2001, our government initiated a brand new federal security fee in order to fund the new Transportation Security Administration. That fee rounds up to about $10 per ticket for a round-trip flight.
And some very old taxes are still around today...one that's more than a century old, even. The telephone tax. Originally, its purpose was to help pay for the Spanish American War – back in 1898, mind you – but what exactly has it been paying for in the past 100 years? Granted, it was semi-repealed at the start of 2006 (gee, it only took us 108 years to get around to taking care of that), you're still paying a three percent tax for local telephone service.
And then we've got the biggest money-sucker of them all. Gasoline excise taxes. At up to $4 per gallon around the nation, this tax is used to pay for the country's highway system. And if you're a smoker and plan to pick up a pack of cigarettes while waiting for your tank to fill up, you've got another hefty tax on your hands. Don't fret though, this tax is in your benefit – to dissuade you from smoking (never mind what the recently-risen cigarette tax is actually paying for...)
If you really want to know where your money is going when you make a purchase in one of the above listed popular products and services, take a look at the chart below:
At least now you know...