Everyone could use some fun facts about taxes to lighten the burden of what can be a lot of people’s least favorite time of year.
10 surprising facts about taxes
Here are 10 surprising facts about what it means to be a taxpayer in the United States.
1. While form 1040 is supposed to be one of the ‘simpler’ tax forms, and the form that the majority of Americans use to file their taxes, the instructions for this form alone are nearly 200 pages long.
2. The U.S. tax code, which includes all of the rules, regulations and various legal jargon that make up tax laws, is almost 4 million words long. If that doesn’t sound like much, compare it to the entirety of Shakespeare’s canon—the Bard goes on and on forever, but all of his works only total about 900,000 words. Ouch.
3. If you’re worried about making a mistake on your taxes, don’t be. Talk about fun facts about taxes—according to Money Magazine, when nearly 50 tax professionals and accountants were asked to complete the same tax return for a single family, they came up with nearly 50 different answers.
If the people who trained to do this can’t figure it out, how can the IRS expect a mere mortal like you to be perfect? (Good news: they can’t and don’t).
4. Around the turn of the 20th century, it only took the average American three weeks to make enough money to pay their state and federal taxes. Today it takes until April and beyond!
5. Cigarette tax is the third highest amount of tax paid by Americans, followed closely by court fees and taxes paid to obtain dog licenses (in other words, we’re just a bunch of smokin’, law-breakin’ dog lovers!)
6. Traffic accidents increase significantly on or around April 15th, so watch out for frantic drivers making a beeline for the post office! You, of course, have a Shoeboxed account and will be counted among the curiously calm drivers out on that day.
7. U.S. citizens first began paying taxes at the end of the 18th century, but only on land and property. It wasn’t until the government needed to raise money during the Civil War that personal incomes began to be taxed.
8. The U.S. corporate tax rate is a whopping 35%, which has forced many companies to outsource or set up shop overseas. In addition to actually building business in other countries, many American corporations get around the exorbitant tax rate by setting up dummy ‘storefronts’ and headquartering their businesses in countries with lower corporate tax rates.
9. eFiling continues to reign supreme—while over 20% of hard copy tax returns contain errors, less than 1% of electronic returns do.
10. The IRS has more people working for it than the Federal Bureau of Investigation!
9 facts about property taxes
If you’re a property owner (or thinking of becoming one), you might be interested in these facts about property taxes!
1. The 5 states with the highest property taxes are currently New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York.
2. The 5 states with the lowest property taxes are West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
3. There are often severe penalties for failing to pay your property taxes, including foreclosing on your home!
4. Property tax is based on the value put on the property through an appraisal.
5. More than 1 jurisdiction may tax a property, depending on the location.
6. There are different classes of property, and they’re taxed differently. The classes include commercial, residential, industrial, and vacant real properties.
7. In 2o20, there was nearly $600 billion dollars (!) in property taxes collected by state and local governments.
8. Property taxes are generally used by local governments to benefit the community through water and sewer updates and management, construction, education, fire and law enforcement, and more.
9. In many states, such as in Tennessee and Alabama, property owners over 65 years of age are no longer required to pay property taxes.
8 facts about filing taxes
Filing taxes might not be interesting, but these facts about filing taxes are!
1. It’s estimated that, on average, it takes around 13 hours to file your taxes.
2. In 2022, 59.9% of American households filed their income tax.
3. According to an IRS study, 53% of taxpayers filed their taxes with a tax professional in 2021 rather than filing their own taxes.
4. Believe it or not, not all U.S. states require that you file a state income tax. These states are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.
5. The average tax refund in 2022 was just over $3,000 ($3,012, to be exact).
6. Minors must file taxes, regardless of age, if their income exceeds the standard deduction. In 2022, that was $12,950.
7. Currently, the largest group of taxpayers are between the ages of 35 and 55 years old.
8. 95% of married taxpayers file their taxes jointly
9. Those who attempt tax evasion can land themselves in $100,000 of debt and up to 5 years in prison.
10. All tax deductions for state and local levies are limited to no more than $10,000.
11 little known facts about taxes
When you read these wacky and little-known facts about taxes, US tax filing, and tax history around the world, you’ll be saying, “What? Who knew!”
1. The federal tax code, also known as the IRC, or International Revenue Code, was first compiled in 1939.
2. Paying taxes in the 18th and 19th centuries got a little odd with the Window Tax of 1696. Homes with more than 2 windows were taxed per window as an indirect way of taxing the rich in England, Scotland, and Great Britain.
3. Nations in the EU, such as Ireland, have begun taxing cow farmers for the methane released from cows’ flatulence to combat the effects of global warming.
4. Peter the Great, Tsar and Emperor of Russia from 1682 to 1725, imposed a beard tax bill on Russian men. Wealthy men who refused to shave their beards were required to pay more than less wealthy men.
5. If you want to save money on your western giddup, you might want to skip the belt buckle. Texas has an additional 6.25% tax on belt buckles—though not on belts—because they are considered an accessory and not necessary clothing.
6. In the early 1800s, the gray squirrel population in Ohio began to threaten crops, so much so that along with taxes, people were required to “…produce to the clerk of the township…such number of squirrel scalps,…in proportion their county levies, provided that it does not exceed 100 or be less than ten.”
7. From the early 1700s to the 19th century, many of Europe’s countries placed heavy taxes on soap, making cleanliness only for the wealthiest.
8. In Maryland, you’re taxed for flushing the toilet. The Flush Tax, otherwise known as the Chesapeake Restoration Fee, costs Marylanders $60 per year.
9. There are only 14 countries in the world that don’t have an income tax.
10. Canadian cereal companies receive a tax break if they include a toy in kids’ boxes (unless the toy is alcohol-related).
11. The highest tax rate in U.S. history was in 1944 when taxpayers that made over $200,000 annually paid an income tax rate of 94% on their taxable income to the Internal Revenue Service.
If you’re enjoying these tax facts, you might be interested in our related article on the Most Famous Tax Court Cases in IRS History.
5 interesting facts about self employment taxes
These interesting facts about self-employment taxes are for all the business owners out there.
1. The self employment tax rate is 15.3% in addition to income tax.
2. Self-employed people, on average, have a higher tax liability than the average person.
3. The Self-Employment Tax was created in 1951.
4. Only about 10-15% of workers in the U.S. are self-employed, and therefore, pay self-employment taxes.
5. Self-employment taxes are used to get Social Security and Medicare taxes from self-employed people.
Want more interesting tax facts? Check out this video:
Frequently asked questions
The 3 major taxes are:
1. Sales taxes
Sales tax are the taxes that consumers pay when buying services or goods.
2. Property taxes
Property taxes are paid by property owners to their local government.
3. Income taxes
Income taxes are paid by workers to the federal government.
There are many facts about taxes, but here are 3 that might pique your interest:
1. U.S. citizens didn’t pay federal income tax until the Civil War.
2. The U.S. Tax Code is nearly 4 million words long.
3. Cigarette tax is the third highest tax paid by Americans.
Ok, so maybe not all of these fun facts about taxes are necessarily fun, but they’re certainly interesting.
Don’t forget that Shoeboxed can help you get a jump start on organization during tax season!
You might like:
- The Ultimate Receipt Organization & Management Resource
- Tax Audit Prep: The Absolutely Non-Scary Guide
- 5 Best Ways to Store Your Business Cards
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