Fun Tax Facts

Posted by Don on April 15, 2013

The annual tax deadline is here. Is your return done… or is it time to file an extension? If you are done, it’s time to celebrate with some fun tax facts. You might think to yourself that it is an oxymoron, since taxes can’t be fun. I’m not here to talk to you about the 1040, your 1099 or the sales tax deduction. No, I am here to point out some of the more interesting facts about taxes. Hopefully by the end of this post, you will have a smile on your face, or at least learned a new fact – that isn’t boring!

tax facts

Photo Courtesy: Stuart Miles; Free Digital Photos

Did You Know…

  • The IRS sends out 8 billion pages of forms and instructions each year? If you laid all of this paper out, end to end, the trail would stretch around the Earth 28 times!
  • There are over 7 million words in the tax law and tax regulations. That is more words than the Declaration of Independence (1,337 words), the Gettysburg Address (269 words), and the Bible (773,000 words) combined.
  • Added to the above, the 1040EZ Form, which is the form people fill out when they have a simple tax situation, has 33 pages of instructions. Talk about an oxymoron!
  • The first income tax was created in 1861 during the Civil War to help finance the war effort.
  • In 1894, Congress passes the Wilson-Groman tariff which taxed income over $4,000 at 2%. The following year, the Supreme Court overturned the tariff.
  • The first e-file (electronic transmission) of a tax return took place on January 24, 1986.
  • According to estimates, there are approximately 1.2 million tax preparers in the United States.
  • Effective in 2006, the Treasury Department said it will no longer collect the 3% federal excise tax on long-distance calls. The tax was imposed in 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War. The Treasury said it was conceding its battle to uphold the tax after five appeals courts declared it illegal.
  • American taxpayers spend $200 billion and 5.4 billion hours working to comply with federal taxes each year. That is more time than it takes to produce every car, truck, and van in the United States in a year.
  • Pennsylvania’s alcohol tax was designed to help the city of Johnstown, which had a devastating flood in 1936. That tax is still collected and brings in $200,000,000 a year.
  • Blueberries from Maine are subject to specific tax: Anyone who grows, purchases, sells, handles, or processes blueberries in Maine has to pay a penny and a half tax per pound.
  • Over the past 30 years, car accidents have consistently increased by 6% on that date when taxes need to be filed.
  • President Obama’s 2011 tax return reported adjusted gross income of $789,674. Their tax liability was $162,074, giving them an effective tax rate of 20.5%.
  • The IRS spends $2.45 for every $100 that it collects in taxes. (We need these guys to start running the country!)

Final Thoughts

There are certainly some interesting tax facts that I have included in this list. I am sure there are plenty more as well. Do you know of any interesting facts about taxes? Have you heard any of the ones I listed? Share away!

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