Today is the day that tax returns are due to the United States federal government. Although this might not be the jolliest of occasions, checking this particular item off your to-do list is definitely worth celebrating.
Every year since 1955, people have paid their taxes on April 15th, except when this date falls on a weekend or holiday. (In that case, Tax Day is the following business day.) Federal income tax was first established by the Revenue Act of 1861. Its purpose was to fund the Civil War. Over the years there have been several Supreme Court cases that have challenged the constitutionality of income taxes.
To celebrate Tax Day, send in your tax return and then have a little victory party. You won’t have to worry about taxes again for a whole year!
On February 25, 1913 the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, providing for an income tax.
- In a lifetime, the average American files 42 income tax returns and spends 464 hours preparing those forms. The average American earns $1,235,720 in his lifetime, and of this sum pays $178,364 in taxes.
- The IRS estimates that the average American family spends 27 hours to keep records and prepare an itemized Form 1040 with a few additional schedules. The average Form 1040 without any schedules takes 11-hours, 35-minutes to complete. The Schedule C (business income) averages 10-hours, 16-minutes.
- The number of unclaimed tax refunds that are being held by the IRS: 96,000. The amount of money that is waiting to be refunded: $62 million.
- In 1695, English law levied a tax on bachelors. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to inspire eligible Englishmen to choose a bride. In 1820, the state of Missouri levied a one-dollar tax on bachelors from ages twenty-one to fifty because they didn't have a wife.
- In 1702, Russia enacted a tax on men who sported beards.
- The 1995 annual tax return for Chrysler Corporation stood six feet high and was prepared by a staff of fifty-five.
- The sovereign countries with the lowest income tax in the world are Bahrain and Qatar. No matter what one's income is, it's not taxable. (It's nice to have all that oil in the ground, isn't it?)
- If you feel lost when trying to complete your return, don’t worry. The official tax code of the Internal Revenue Service has been hailed as “the world's most confusing publication.” According to the US Government Printing Office, it's 13,458 pages in total. The full text of Title 26 of the United States Code (the part written by Congress) is a mere 3,387 printed pages, bringing the adjusted gross page count to 16,845.
- Average Americans pay over $30,000 in federal, state and local taxes every second.
- This year, the top one-percent of earners will pay an average tax bill of $525,231, up more than $36,000 from last year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. It will surge to $670,000 for 2014 taxes.
- The top 5-percent of taxpayers now paid an estimated 27-percent of federal taxes in 2012 and their share will rise to 29.8-percent next year.
- What about the president? President Obama and the First Lady filed their joint return for 2013, paying $98,169 in federal taxes on $481,098 in income. That's an effective tax rate of 20.4%. According to the Tax Foundation, the average U.S. taxpayer has seen his tax burden rise from 29.8% to 31.3%, since 2005. Fascinating, no?