35 quirky tax facts for this tax season
Ever since taxes were first levied against citizens, they’ve been controversial among citizens. In some cases, they’re praised for contributing to society. Taxes, after all, are how people pay for many of the public services they benefit from every day, including firefighters, public schools, federal employees, libraries, and public television. Taxes have also been so reviled as to start massive uprisings, revolutions, and war.
Despite this back and forth, one thing is for certain: No one loves Tax Day, whether they have to give up a chunk of money to the government or simply have to fill out pesky paperwork. Make tax season a little more fun with Stacker’s 35 quirky tax facts, full of odd knowledge that might just come in handy.
Be sure to read on before you file—something you learn here could easily save you some money this April.
America didn't have income tax for much of Its history
Prior to 1913, the United States' federal government was largely funded through tariffs and excise taxes. The Sixteenth Amendment allowed the government to tax income, generating much more money.
What are excise taxes?
The government levies “excise taxes," also known as “sin taxes," against specific goods. Alcohol, tobacco, and wagering on sports are among the usual targets, although tanning services and long-distance phone calls have also made the list.
90% of taxpayers file electronically
Filing paperwork is nearly a thing of the past. The IRS began offering e-filing in the mid-1980s to cut down on costs. Today, 90% of all taxpayers use e-filing through services like Turbotax or TaxSlayer.
Disaster victims get a break
The IRS offers tax relief for survivors of natural disasters. These individuals don't pay fewer taxes, but they do get an extension on their filing deadlines. The IRS also offers assistance for people looking to reconstruct their financial records.
The tax gap is considerable
Think the IRS won't miss your portion of unpaid taxes? Guess again. They tally what is known as the “tax gap," which is the sum of missing taxes. In 2016, the IRS said that the average gap per year was a whopping $458 billion.
Seven states have no income tax
The United States has seven states without income tax, including Wyoming, Washington, Texas, South Dakota, Nevada, Florida, and Alaska. Many of those states make up for the deficit in taxes through sales and property tax.
The states with the highest income tax
Athletes must file in every state where they have played
Professional athletes have to file in their home state as well as in every state where they played. It becomes even more complicated for players who have homes in multiple states, or who are traded to a different team partway through the year.
Tax day used to be in March
Following the Sixteenth Amendment, Congress decided all taxes should be filed by March 1. The date was bumped back to March 15 in 1918, then again to April 15 in 1955.2018 All rights reserved.