20 Tax Facts That Will Make Your Head Explode

Tea Party

Whatever their political perspective, people find reasons to get upset on tax day.

Pundits talk a lot about the growing tax share of the rich, and the 47% of Americans who don’t pay income tax. These arguments are somewhat unfair because they ignore the growing wealth disparity.

But they’re just two of many ridiculous facts that emerge in this giant bureaucratic mess.

The IRS has more employees than there are people in Flint, Michigan (106K vs 102K)

You could fill Dallas with the number of accountants Americans hire to help with taxes each year (over a million)

Source: Economist

Americans spend $28 billion and 8 billion hours each year doing their taxes.

Source: Economist

Source: Tax.com and Reason

The number of pages in the tax code has increased 16,775% in the past century

Based on figures from this awesome video at Reason.tv

84% of people think it is NOT AT ALL acceptable to cheat on your taxes. And yet...

Source: IRS (PDF)

90 per cent of people who employ babysitters and housekeepers end up cheating on their taxes

Source: New York Times

Tax rates are declining for everyone, but especially the top 1%

Source: Get Rich Slowly

So how come rich people are paying more taxes than ever? Because they are gaining wealth faster than the tax rate is declining!

47 per cent of Americans pay no federal income taxes; but they do pay state and local taxes, sales tax, gas tax, utility tax, cigarette tax and other tariffs

A $100K earner takes home 62% in New York. She would take home 72% in Dallas.

Data is net % to employee after social and income tax, for an unmarried person with a $100k salary. See Forbes for the full chart.

The 400 best-compensated Americans earned an average of $345 million apiece (2007)

Source: AP

The average federal income tax rate for these 400 was 17%. This is down from 26% in 1992. (Thank low capital gains taxes).

Source: AP

New York City has the highest corporate income tax in the world

Blue is corporate income tax. See Forbes for full chart.

Thanks to big loopholes, GE paid no taxes on U.S. operating income of $5.1 billion. Actually, they claimed a $3.2 billion tax benefit

Source: NYT

Business Insider pays more in taxes than GE

Over 100 companies on the S&P 500 paid less than 20 per cent in federal taxes. (The corporate tax rate is supposed to be 35 per cent)

For instance, Amazon paid 4.33%. See other tax dodgers here >

Nicholas Cage owes around $14.6 million in back taxes. That's more than his last movie, Drive Angry 3D, earned on opening weekend

Source: BI and LAT

At least we aren't Sweden, where the top income tax rate is 56.5%.

Source: OECD

Another gift to rich people hidden in the new tax deal: $5 million tax-free gift exemptions, up from $1 million previously

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