Friday, April 15, 2005

Too many taxes

This is it, April 15th. Today is the last day to report to the IRS your income from last year--everything from wages and tips to interest and dividends, alimony, unemployment, capital gains, social security and all the rest.

But what would it be like if our government had to report to us all of the taxes we paid last year? Wouldn't it be interesting if each of us received detailed report of the taxes we pay throughout the year. I'm not talking about just Social Security, federal, state and local income taxes, but all taxes.

The report would include the sin taxes, the federal excise taxes on liquor, wine, beer and cigarettes. It would tally all of the other excise taxes too, like on tires, guns and ammunition, fishing gear and bows and arrows. There is even a tax on betting and a separate tax on the employees of casinos.

Have you taken a good look at various taxes that appear on your phone bills? A federal subscriber line charge, federal universal service fee, state regulatory fee, rate surcharge, 9-1-1 emergency fee, lifeline surcharge...they'd all be included.

Consider also the taxes on an airplane ticket. There's a 7.5% federal excise tax, an airport tax ($2-$18), federal segment fees ($3 per segment), the 9/11 fee ($2.50 per segment) and a travel facilities tax (up to $13.40 per round-trip).

This report would also include the other biggies, sales tax and property taxes on real estate and automobiles. Professional licensing fees too.

It would include all of the nickel and dime taxes like highway and bridge tolls as well as fees for public parking.

So if our government were able to tabulate all of these taxes and the scores of others that I couldn't think of, what would that look like? How much of your income really goes out in taxes? Would it make you think differently about the total cost of government?

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