Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy (Additional) Tax Day

As most everyone knows, today is Tax Day in the United States - the annual deadline for paying state and federal income taxes.  I've long been a critic of the irrationality and complexity of US tax code, and the good fiscal cons at the Republican Study Committee have two new charts to really hit these points home.  First, we see just how insanely complex the US tax code really is:

After reviewing my inscrutable tax returns (for the fourth time) yesterday, I'm honestly surprised that the Tax Code's only 3,827,105 words. (It felt like my return alone topped out at a million.)  And it's really no wonder that the World Bank has ranked the United States at an embarrassing 69th out of 183 countries in terms of overall tax burden, including ease of doing taxes.  Pathetic.

Next, the RSC shows us just how much work it takes for the average American to pay his tax bill:

So it'll take the average American over a hundred days to pay off his annual tab to Uncle Sam, and our total tax bill is well more than we'll pay on food, clothing and shelter combined.  Painful.

And speaking of clothing, the American Apparel and Footwear Association helpfully reminds us today that today's income tax bills are really just one of the many taxes that Americans fork over to the federal government:
In case you missed it, today is Tax Day. People all around the country (and even some on staff here at AAFA) are busy crunching numbers to fill in their 1040 form ahead of tonight’s deadline.

If you stop by the mall on your way to or from the post office or jump on your favorite store’s Web site after e-filing, and purchase a shirt, a pair of shorts, or new sandals for the summer with your anticipated return, today is Double Tax Day for you.

You see, 98 percent of the clothing and 99 percent of the shoes sold in the United States are imported. And often, those imports are charged a duty, or a tax paid to the government to allow that product to enter into the United States. For every American who wears clothes and shoes, you are paying extra taxes to the government and you may not even realize it. In fact, while apparel and footwear imports account for only less than five percent of total U.S. imports, clothes and shoes account for more than 40 percent of total duties collected by the U.S. government. And these duties amount to a $30 billion tax at the cash register every year for hardworking American families.

As I've repeatedly noted here, these apparel and footwear tariffs are just a few of the many existing US import taxes that make everyday necessities (and industrial inputs) more expensive in America than they are elsewhere in the world.

So while we all might have a glorious 364 more days before we again worry about today's extra special (and onerous) tax burden, just remember that pretty much every day is "Tax Day" for American businesses and consumers thanks to the US tariff code.

1 comment:

Kathy Gregory said...

Whoa, those are staggering numbers! I particularly agree with your first point. Many have agreed that brevity is a writer’s greatest tool. If the tax code was straightforward, I’m sure that more will be encouraged to file their taxes. Thanks for sharing, Scott!