Monday, May 24, 2004

Taxes Upon Taxes

Taxes Upon Taxes

Taxes is a subject I've been meaning to vent about for sometime but since it is generally a boring topic, I could never find the right time. But that hasn't stopped me from posting anyway, right?

In this country, we have many, many taxes. There's income tax which actually breaks down into federal, state, and social security tax. There's sales tax, gift tax, capital gains tax, service tax, estate tax, death tax, marriage tax, sneeze on a Sunday tax. Conversely, with the exception of some online retailers, there is no internet tax (yet) and we're so used to being taxed that when it comes to our online purchases, we keep looking around and scratching our heads as if there should be. "That can't be right. No tax on this? It is right? Coooool. I better take advantage of this while it lasts."

What many people don't realize is that we definitely have a system of taxes upon taxes. If you buy a car and you register it, you pay a tax on it. That's a sales tax. But when you sell that car, the person buying it from you pays a tax on the sell price when he goes to register it. If he wants to sell it, the person buying the car that's had two previous owners, pays a tax on the same car that's already been taxed twice before. Change of possession is a dumb reason for a tax and as long as the product is still functioning (even if it's not actually) the government gets an eternal spring of revenue from one product as long as it keeps changing hands. Can you imagine taxing bread multiple times if you decided you needed to sell your loaf? To add another layer of taxes upon taxes (upon taxes) to this example, most of you buy that triple-taxed car with income that's already been taxed! You see, to me that's insane.

Gift tax is another mind boggling system. It's related to the car example, when the object changes possessions, the government gets to tax it. The gift tax amount is ridiculous too, something close to 50%. If you die and leave your inheritance to your family, it gets that heavy tax. Sure, you don't care anymore since you've passed from this world, but what about us, the living? We could've used that extra $1000 to buy a very fancy gas grill.

Many people have an issue too about where their money is going. Maybe it goes against their politics or personal beliefs but indirectly, they're having to pay for something they disagree with, sometimes even strongly. And let me tell you, your money is going to a spectrum of causes, a few with which you would be shocked and I have no doubt you would object. If you want an idea, start with researching pork barrel funding; a funny name with a not-so-funny cause.