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Old 04-03-2005, 05:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Tell me what's wrong with this income tax model

A flat tax with a large income exemption of maybe $25,000-$35,000. That is plenty of money to live on and it's a progressive tax: say the exemption is $30,000 and the tax rate is 24%. You make $30,000, you pay 0%. $60,000, 12%. $100,000, 17%. $1,000,000, 23%. That seems pretty fair to me. Obviously the numbers may need some tweaking as I just pulled them out of thin air. The richest end up paying more than what they pay now and still have millions left over, and the poorest pay equal or less by definition, 0% (unless we start PAYING them for making less money, oh wait, we already do). Also, capital gains are not taxed under a different system, all income is income, which I imagine would make up some of the difference created by the exemption as the current capital gains rate is ridiculously low. My logical mind can't seem to pick a hole in this, so tell me why Congress, which as we all know ALWAYS acts in the best interest of the people without any regard for political goals, wouldn't want to implement this.
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Old 04-03-2005, 06:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The definition of flat tax is that everyone pays the same percentage income tax, which is what yours isn't as you state in your second sentence. If the guy making $10k a year pays 15%, then the guy making $100k pays 15%, and so does the guy making a $1million a year. The rich are the ones peeved about our current progressive tax structure and are the ones agitating for a flat tax since currently a person making $10k pays %11, a person making $100k pays %22, and a person making $1mil pays %33 (rough figures taken from form1040 for filing single, no deductions or tax breaks).

The reason that Congress doesn't enact your proposal, or something similar, is becuase they are people, too, and most, if not all, are in the top tax brackets. Add in the fact that they *are* working for political goals, and you get what we have here, which is they way they want it.

If you figure in sales taxes, I wouldn't be surprised if the actual amount paid in taxes, as a percentage, is higher for the bottom 10 or 20 % of our population than it is for the top 10%. They can afford accountants who can find all the loop holes and offshore bank accounts/corporations/tax shelters.

Don't get me wrong; I am completely in favor of simplifying our tax code so that the IRS auditors can understand it and all the citizens can understand it, which would, I hope, make it easier to enforce with fewer people, and make it easier to pay correctly. This will let us save money on IRS auditors, IRS audits, and the paperwork associated with unpaid and overpaid taxes.
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Old 04-03-2005, 07:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I like that your plan doesn't have "steps".

One big reason that it would be difficult to enact a flat tax is that Congress likes to encourage certain behaviors via tax exemptions. Things like owning a house and having children give you tax breaks. Whether or not this is an appropriate use of the tax system is another question entirely.
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Old 04-03-2005, 12:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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my biggest problem with your idea is that someone decides what is "plenty enough to live on." i don't recognize anyone's right to determine that for me.

other than that little gripe, i'm not certain why this structure is markedly different from the one already in place save the shifting of zero tax liability to a higher income strata.

i'm in favor of a relatively flat tax curve that encompasses the entire band of the populace. EVERYONE should pay taxes, be that $1 a year for those in poverty or upwards of 25% for high-wage earners. tax liability would be figured along a curve, not a stair-stepped scheme. that way, people will not go to extravagant measures to hide base-income to keep themselves just under a tax bracket.

the tax curve will be based on percentages. that is, how you compare to your fellow citizens in income rank... not in dollar amounts. the curve would be adjusted yearly by congress to match economic conditions.
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Old 04-03-2005, 01:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The problem with tax "curves" is yes the very poor pay less of a percentage but so do the very rich... it's the people in the middle that get squeezed out.

Look I'm sorry if I'm making 5 million and taxes take out 1/2 so that there will be better schools, healthcare and social programs for the poor then it is my duty. 2.5 million is still a hell of a lot for me to live on. And if I can't live on that then the problem lies within ME not the tax system.
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Old 04-03-2005, 04:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irateplatypus
my biggest problem with your idea is that someone decides what is "plenty enough to live on." i don't recognize anyone's right to determine that for me.

other than that little gripe, i'm not certain why this structure is markedly different from the one already in place save the shifting of zero tax liability to a higher income strata.
By "plenty to live on," I mean enough to survive in reasonable conditions. That is the same for everyone. You're not going to be homeless on the street and starving if you can't afford three new PS2 games a week. Anyway, the point is not that the exemption should be the exact amount you need to survive, I'm just saying the exemption is sufficient such that people with a lower income should have nothing to complain about.

How it's different from the current structure is that it's EXTREMELY simplified. This is one of the major reasons always cited by Republicans who want to shift to a flat tax (and whether my model is a flat tax by definition, I don't know and it doesn't matter, I just meant there is only one tax rate). No more exemptions (other than the one), deductions, and you don't need to be a tax attorney to do your own taxes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redlemon
One big reason that it would be difficult to enact a flat tax is that Congress likes to encourage certain behaviors via tax exemptions. Things like owning a house and having children give you tax breaks. Whether or not this is an appropriate use of the tax system is another question entirely.
Of course this is true and might be the largest obstacle. But those Republicans with the flat tax don't seem to care too much about it either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pan6467
The problem with tax "curves" is yes the very poor pay less of a percentage but so do the very rich... it's the people in the middle that get squeezed out.

Look I'm sorry if I'm making 5 million and taxes take out 1/2 so that there will be better schools, healthcare and social programs for the poor then it is my duty. 2.5 million is still a hell of a lot for me to live on. And if I can't live on that then the problem lies within ME not the tax system.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mazagmot
If you figure in sales taxes, I wouldn't be surprised if the actual amount paid in taxes, as a percentage, is higher for the bottom 10 or 20 % of our population than it is for the top 10%. They can afford accountants who can find all the loop holes and offshore bank accounts/corporations/tax shelters.
Exactly, as the system is now, the rich are not paying anywhere near thirtywhatever percent of their actual income to the IRS. I believe the number cited for the Kerrys during last year's campaign was that they paid 18% of their income in income tax. Further, I would be surprised to find that this system would increase the tax burden on the middle class, but if anyone has the numbers to show it I might think otherwise. Certainly the numbers could be tweaked such that it didn't: If you had say a $60,000 exemption and a rate of 80% I don't think you could say that the middle class are worse off since someone making the median income pays, again 0%. Then I would say the rich have too much of a burden. That's another thing I think is great about this system, it's much easier to make effective changes to it.
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Old 04-03-2005, 05:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan6467
The problem with tax "curves" is yes the very poor pay less of a percentage but so do the very rich... it's the people in the middle that get squeezed out.

Look I'm sorry if I'm making 5 million and taxes take out 1/2 so that there will be better schools, healthcare and social programs for the poor then it is my duty. 2.5 million is still a hell of a lot for me to live on. And if I can't live on that then the problem lies within ME not the tax system.
Herein lies the problem. Americans don;t like being told what they need to do. Whether you mean to or not, your argument is that people in upper incomes should stop bitching and pay their taxes dutifully like good little sheep because they have make more then the plumber making 40,000.
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Old 04-03-2005, 06:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n0nsensical
A flat tax with a large income exemption of maybe $25,000-$35,000. That is plenty of money to live on and it's a progressive tax: say the exemption is $30,000 and the tax rate is 24%. You make $30,000, you pay 0%. $60,000, 12%. $100,000, 17%. $1,000,000, 23%. That seems pretty fair to me. Obviously the numbers may need some tweaking as I just pulled them out of thin air. The richest end up paying more than what they pay now and still have millions left over, and the poorest pay equal or less by definition, 0% (unless we start PAYING them for making less money, oh wait, we already do). Also, capital gains are not taxed under a different system, all income is income, which I imagine would make up some of the difference created by the exemption as the current capital gains rate is ridiculously low. My logical mind can't seem to pick a hole in this, so tell me why Congress, which as we all know ALWAYS acts in the best interest of the people without any regard for political goals, wouldn't want to implement this.
Well, first, as was already pointed out, what you describe is not a "Flat Tax". Basically, you are describing the current system, with different numbers.

You do not mention deductions? Leave them out or leave them in?

Also, just giving this a cursery going-over, I don't see the math working out. I think this idea would fall far short of current revenues.

Mainly because you have the "rich" paying less under your system than they do under our current system. Kinda hard to prove unless you do an in-depth model based on how many people reside at what income level.

Also, is this per person? What if two people are married? What about kids? What about "head of household"?

You should also note: As capital gains tax rates went down, the amount of money received by the gov't from capital gains taxes have gone up. Historically, you can watch the shift as equilibrium was attempted. No sources, only my own research which I have put together in an Excel graph--if you want to see it PM me--I collected the data and then made a visual chart that helped my understand the trend even more (and yes I did it just for fun). It is very interesting to see how capital gains revenues reacted to capital gains tax rates....if you look really close, you can see how we have almost achieved an "ideal" number (i.e. any more results in a loss in revenue and any less results in a loss of revenue).


From your second post:
Quote:
Originally Posted by n0nsensical
By "plenty to live on," I mean enough to survive in reasonable conditions. That is the same for everyone. You're not going to be homeless on the street and starving if you can't afford three new PS2 games a week. Anyway, the point is not that the exemption should be the exact amount you need to survive, I'm just saying the exemption is sufficient such that people with a lower income should have nothing to complain about.

How it's different from the current structure is that it's EXTREMELY simplified. This is one of the major reasons always cited by Republicans who want to shift to a flat tax (and whether my model is a flat tax by definition, I don't know and it doesn't matter, I just meant there is only one tax rate). No more exemptions (other than the one), deductions, and you don't need to be a tax attorney to do your own taxes.
What if I want 3 new PS2 games per week? Who are you to tell me I shouldn't? If I do my job well, I am successful at it, why should you dictate how my money is spent?

Just to clear this up, because you seem to misunderstand: Your proposal is not a flat tax. There is not "only one tax rate", but several.

I do, however, agree with you about the part about not needing a tax accountant in order to do taxes.

One of the ideas behind a true "Flate Tax" is that everybody would have the same tax return and it would be postcard-sized.

Also, you should note: Certain benefits under the current plan allow many, many people making under $30K to receive back more money than they pay--in essence, your plan would cost them money (money they don't deserve, IMO, so I kinda support you on that point).


Quote:
Originally Posted by n0nsensical
No more exemptions (other than the one), deductions, and you don't need to be a tax attorney to do your own taxes.
What about kids?

We pay a lot for the upkeep of these little monsters, getting a bit off of the taxes is very helpful.
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Old 04-03-2005, 09:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCB
Herein lies the problem. Americans don;t like being told what they need to do. Whether you mean to or not, your argument is that people in upper incomes should stop bitching and pay their taxes dutifully like good little sheep because they have make more then the plumber making 40,000.
They're already being told to pay taxes. How is this any different? Is your point that nobody should be exempt from taxation? The idea is for there to be a fair tax burden. Now it can be argued that there already is a fair tax burden, I don't personally agree with that, but the case could be made. Another goal is simplification of the tax code.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMA-628
Well, first, as was already pointed out, what you describe is not a "Flat Tax". Basically, you are describing the current system, with different numbers.

You do not mention deductions? Leave them out or leave them in?
...
Just to clear this up, because you seem to misunderstand: Your proposal is not a flat tax. There is not "only one tax rate", but several.

I do, however, agree with you about the part about not needing a tax accountant in order to do taxes.

One of the ideas behind a true "Flate Tax" is that everybody would have the same tax return and it would be postcard-sized.
Well actually, I already did mention deductions in this thread and I said there wouldn't be any. This is exactly the same as a flat tax except there is a single income exemption (it would be called a deduction in the current system's terminology: income that is exempt from taxation). That's what I've been saying the whole time but everyone's just telling me how it's not a flat tax. I know. It's not exactly a flat tax. Take a flat tax, and make some amount of income exempt from taxation. Taxes could theoretically still be filed on a postcard.

Quote:
Also, just giving this a cursery going-over, I don't see the math working out. I think this idea would fall far short of current revenues.

Mainly because you have the "rich" paying less under your system than they do under our current system. Kinda hard to prove unless you do an in-depth model based on how many people reside at what income level.

Also, is this per person? What if two people are married? What about kids? What about "head of household"?

You should also note: As capital gains tax rates went down, the amount of money received by the gov't from capital gains taxes have gone up. Historically, you can watch the shift as equilibrium was attempted. No sources, only my own research which I have put together in an Excel graph--if you want to see it PM me--I collected the data and then made a visual chart that helped my understand the trend even more (and yes I did it just for fun). It is very interesting to see how capital gains revenues reacted to capital gains tax rates....if you look really close, you can see how we have almost achieved an "ideal" number (i.e. any more results in a loss in revenue and any less results in a loss of revenue).
I disagree that the rich are paying less. With no more deductions and loopholes, the final percentage of income could easily be more. I already gave the example of the Kerrys who would be paying more in my example. Yes, my optimal idea is per-person. No filing jointly, no need for any other terminology. I don't think marriage or non-marriage status should be relevant to your dealings with the federal government.

Regarding capital gains, I'm not an expert, but fool.com says: "If your ordinary income tax bracket is greater than 15%:...Capital Gains on assets held for more than a year are taxed at a reduced tax rate of 20%...Capital Gains on assets held for more than five years are taxed at a reduced rate of 18%, but only if the assets were purchased on or after January 1, 2001." This is not that much different from my example which again is just an example and could be tweaked.

Quote:
From your second post:

What if I want 3 new PS2 games per week? Who are you to tell me I shouldn't? If I do my job well, I am successful at it, why should you dictate how my money is spent?

What about kids?

We pay a lot for the upkeep of these little monsters, getting a bit off of the taxes is very helpful.
I simply can't understand what logic could possibly lead everyone to think I'm telling people what to do. All I said is that anyone could comfortably survive with the exempt income. What you do with the rest of your money is completely irrelevant. After you pay your 0-24% (or whatever) of income as tax, you can do whatever the hell you want with the rest of it. This is already what you do. You pay your tax, you do what you want with the rest of your money. In that sense, this proposal is no different. The kid deduction is the same as all the other deductions: eliminated. I don't think tax policy should be used to encourage people to live their lives one way or another. As has already been pointed out, some people agree, some people disagree, which I also admitted is one reason this might not be adopted.
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Old 04-04-2005, 03:12 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't understand how anyone can use the terms progressive and fair in the same sentence. The only fair tax system would be for every man woman and child to pay the exact same amount no matter how much you made. The poor already get back much more then they pay in the form of free medical [medicare and medicaid], free housing, food stamps, government grants for schooling etc., then at the end of the year and they file their taxes they our current system sends them back thousands upon thousands of dollars [much more then they even paid to begin with] for filing head of household and being poor. There is nothing fair about the current system. Absolutely nothing. Anyone who thinks progressive taxes are fair has their head up their collective arses. I get robbed every single week through out the course of the year and at the end of the year it costs me $300 dollars to get a tax consultant to find out I have to pay another $1200. And before you all get your panties in a bunch me and my wife only made $72000 together [no where near "the rich level"] last year and I have them take out an extra $20 a week on top of what they already rob me of weekly. I have had them take out the extra for three years because we had to pay the previous 4 years before this one, and each year I have them take more. After I found out we have to pay again this year I upped it to $25. This is crap. Don't get me started on fricken taxes ....... it chaps my buns ........ grrrrrrrrr. Do I feel I'm over taxed.... you bet yer sweet cheeks I do. I feel we are solid middle class and I feel we are getting raped by our illustrous government and the darn Democrats. Just the other day one of our elected officials had a "town hall meeting" where he met with locals and some lady, obviously one of the poor nutjobs on welfare, had the gall to stand up and state she felt she wasn't being over taxed. People are nuts..... absolutely fricken nuts. Yup I'm a little pissed right now about this whole taxation process and I ain't havin' an easy time paying more than I already have ......... but hey thanks for letting me vent...

/rant
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Old 04-04-2005, 10:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout
I don't understand how anyone can use the terms progressive and fair in the same sentence. The only fair tax system would be for every man woman and child to pay the exact same amount no matter how much you made. The poor already get back much more then they pay in the form of free medical [medicare and medicaid], free housing, food stamps, government grants for schooling etc., then at the end of the year and they file their taxes they our current system sends them back thousands upon thousands of dollars [much more then they even paid to begin with] for filing head of household and being poor. There is nothing fair about the current system. Absolutely nothing. Anyone who thinks progressive taxes are fair has their head up their collective arses. I get robbed every single week through out the course of the year and at the end of the year it costs me $300 dollars to get a tax consultant to find out I have to pay another $1200. And before you all get your panties in a bunch me and my wife only made $72000 together [no where near "the rich level"] last year and I have them take out an extra $20 a week on top of what they already rob me of weekly. I have had them take out the extra for three years because we had to pay the previous 4 years before this one, and each year I have them take more. After I found out we have to pay again this year I upped it to $25. This is crap. Don't get me started on fricken taxes ....... it chaps my buns ........ grrrrrrrrr. Do I feel I'm over taxed.... you bet yer sweet cheeks I do. I feel we are solid middle class and I feel we are getting raped by our illustrous government and the darn Democrats. Just the other day one of our elected officials had a "town hall meeting" where he met with locals and some lady, obviously one of the poor nutjobs on welfare, had the gall to stand up and state she felt she wasn't being over taxed. People are nuts..... absolutely fricken nuts. Yup I'm a little pissed right now about this whole taxation process and I ain't havin' an easy time paying more than I already have ......... but hey thanks for letting me vent...

/rant
you have a warped notion of taxation.

Taxation isn't and shouldn't be based on one's income. Taxation should be based on use.

When you walk into a store and purchase a commodity, you pay a percentage of your consumption.

When you own property, you pay a tax on it, as well. Presumably to entice you to produce from the land.

Your yearly tax intended to pay for the government programs you've utilized all year long--that should be based off your use as well.

Where you get the idea that taxation should be based off one's income, and that the only fair tax is to have everyone pay an equivalent percentage of their income is off kilter--and is only because the only income taxation scheme you've been exposed to is equally off-kilter.

But you already admitted you were off kilter. If you think the democrats are overtaxing you, that's another bizarre assertion of yours. The republicans are trying to reduce taxes, but not YOUR taxes. You better run the number frontways, backways, and sideways...three times...before committing to any plan they set forth. The past few years should have already indicated something wasn't right to you.

Here's a simplified version of how I see the situation:

No rich person, regardless of party, wants some uppity middle-class person busting into their ranks and accessing the power they hold among themselves. No one is going to help you get where they are, or reduce the amount of money you pay them. To think otherwise is just plain naive.
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Old 04-04-2005, 11:26 AM   #12 (permalink)
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People are always saying that the poor get back thousands of dollars more than they paid in because of things like the EIC and such but I've never seen one sample tax return here or anywhere else that shows a person paying a negative tax rate (ie not just paying $0, but paying $0 and still getting a 'refund')

Unless someone can back that shit up it needs to stop. We have enough people talking out their collective asses and we don't need it anymore. Someone here was going to do so on another thread but never replied. I wonder why....

I'm also sick of people inserting the word 'fair' into taxation arguements. Life isn't fair. Just as it's not 'fair' that a millionaire pays a higher percentage than everyone else it isn't 'fair' that for every millionaire that works his ass off there are hundreds of people who got an education, work long hours, and still find themselves below the poverty line.
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Old 04-04-2005, 11:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutulu
People are always saying that the poor get back thousands of dollars more than they paid in because of things like the EIC and such but I've never seen one sample tax return here or anywhere else that shows a person paying a negative tax rate (ie not just paying $0, but paying $0 and still getting a 'refund')

Unless someone can back that shit up it needs to stop. We have enough people talking out their collective asses and we don't need it anymore. Someone here was going to do so on another thread but never replied. I wonder why.....
You are referring to me, in this thread:
LINK

My post to you was:
Quote:
Originally Posted by KMA-628
Kutulu -

My wife is making up a hypothetical return in a few minutes (she is a tax accountant) and I will pass it on when I get a chance.

Basically: Married filed Jointly gets EIC if their income is under $35,458. Then, you add in the standard deductions, the kid deductions and you will see that the hypothetical family of four will get back more than they paid.

That doesn't count additional deductions, i.e. if they own a house, etc.

Basically, as you go down the income ladder from $35K the less you pay in taxes and the more you get back.

Kinda hard to cite sources since this is all under IRS rules, that is why she (my wife) is using her tax software to make a hypothetical return based on $30K, average withholding, etc.

The burden really isn't in the $35K and under, it is the $35K to $115K range. That is the range, in my opinion, that feels it the most come 4/15.
Your reponse was:
Quote:
Originally Posted by kutulu
Have fun with it. I've never qualified for the EIC so I really don't know much about it.
Based on that response, I didn't post the example. You conceded you knew nothing about it and were kinda flippant about it, so why should I put any effort into it.

Well.....here you go:

Form: 1040

Line 22 (Total Income) - $39,500

Line 39 (Itemized Deductions- family with three kids) - $9,700

Line 41 (# of exemptions times $3,100) - $15,500

That brings our taxable income down to: $14,110

Income Taxes paid: $3,133

Tax Burden: $350

Amount of tax return (includes child tax credits): $5,048

So.......

Let's sum this up:

Amount paid in income taxes: $3,133

Amount received in tax return: $5,048

And that is without using the EIC. If the total income was smaller EIC could've been applied making the tax return even bigger.

So, in response to this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by kutulu
I've never seen one sample tax return here or anywhere else that shows a person paying a negative tax rate (ie not just paying $0, but paying $0 and still getting a 'refund')
Well, you know have.
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Old 04-04-2005, 11:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thank you. It was nice to finally see some proof for that statement.
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Old 04-04-2005, 12:43 PM   #15 (permalink)
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how do you qualify for the EIC given that your income as reported here is ~$4,000 over the limit?
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Old 04-04-2005, 12:53 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
how do you qualify for the EIC given that your income as reported here is ~$4,000 over the limit?
Quote:
Originally Posted by KMA-628
And that is without using the EIC. If the total income was smaller EIC could've been applied making the tax return even bigger.
Answered above.
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:08 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMA-628
Answered above.
D'oh!

Well, shit I missed that.


I will add, however, that those ~$2k are recent benefits from Bush's tax cuts, correct?
It's not as though working families have been getting more than they put in all this time, to my understanding.
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:20 PM   #18 (permalink)
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All you no deduction hawks:

Imagine you are a trucker.

You recieve income for shipping goods.

You use that income to buy gas and upkeep your truck.

You get paid 200,000$ /year to ship goods.
The gas and the truck costs 170,000$ /year.

Under the current system, your income is 30,000$/year. You pay, say, 5,000$ in income tax.

Under the new system, with no deductions and a 15% flat tax, you'd pay 30,000$/year in tax. And starve.

Well, actually, you'd raise your prices or starve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
Taxation isn't and shouldn't be based on one's income. Taxation should be based on use.
How do you pay for military security? Police protection?

The fairest way to charge for those would be a percentage of your wealth, which the military/police protect.

Economic planning?

Healthy economies benefit you in purportion to how much you earn. The fairest way to charge people would be based off a percentage of their income.


That negative tax is sort of funny. In these parts, tax deductions floor out at 0$ income tax/year. =) Some you can carry from year to year, or transfer to someone else (education tax credits).
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:20 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yakk,

Military/Police is consumption of government services.

The "fairest" way to determine how much percentage you use of that commodity is by determining the proportion of use your assets demand relative to others' assets.

To wit: percentage of ownership (wealth), not income.
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:31 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
I will add, however, that those ~$2k are recent benefits from Bush's tax cuts, correct?
It's not as though working families have been getting more than they put in all this time, to my understanding.
Correct.

In the case above, without the child tax credit, the final tax burden would be next to nothing (or nothing) with all/most of the income taxes paid being returned.

It does go to show, that if the income went down below $35K, then the EIC would apply and you would then get back more than was paid--and the EIC is not part of Bush's tax cuts.

So, as income goes down, the tax burden goes down, and the person/family has a very good chance of getting back more in a refund than was paid in income taxes.

This is why I discount argument related to "tax burdens" on people/families making roughly $35K or less.

The burden gets real hefty after $115K--I know some people that do whatever they can to keep their taxable income below $115K, because it is a big jump in tax rates if you make over $115K.
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:49 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMA-628
Correct.

In the case above, without the child tax credit, the final tax burden would be next to nothing (or nothing) with all/most of the income taxes paid being returned.

It does go to show, that if the income went down below $35K, then the EIC would apply and you would then get back more than was paid--and the EIC is not part of Bush's tax cuts.

So, as income goes down, the tax burden goes down, and the person/family has a very good chance of getting back more in a refund than was paid in income taxes.

This is why I discount argument related to "tax burdens" on people/families making roughly $35K or less.

The burden gets real hefty after $115K--I know some people that do whatever they can to keep their taxable income below $115K, because it is a big jump in tax rates if you make over $115K.

OK, KMA, now we're getting somewhere.

First, I don't think the EIC is very much at all. As you get lower into that bracket, it begins to come out to be in the hundreds, if I remember. I've never qualified for it either, but I've always calculated it to see if I did and also to see just what the heck I was missing out on--and it wasn't ever very much.

I think that $1500 over the span of a year, while it helps out, isn't very much, for a reference marker.

Second, I don't hear too many people around me arguing that people in the <$35K are bearing the brunt of the tax burden. What we are saying, however, is that people making 35K, or less, aren't making enough to live on period. regardless of tax burden.


Now here's where it gets a bit tricky in the argument: when tax cuts go in effect, lots of money goes different places. A lot of it goes to the wealthy. Your $2K is paltry compared to hundreds of thousands and even millions in a number of cases (corporations being extremely harmful in this regard).

in order to pay for all that, we have to cut programs. or not increase their funding (so the argument can literally be made that one didn't cut a program's funds, even if the increase in funding was less than the period before--which in reality is a cut).

and the programs that get cut?
welfare, school funding, military (reservists, VA benefits, the stuff not in front of the camera), fees go up for things like parks, beaches, lakes, other recreational things, police, firefighters, hospitals, etc.

the poor get hit disproportionately when services are cut. They aren't taken care of by our political system, and it would be strange for anyone to argue that they actually ought to--according to our tenets of the powerful rightfully holding the reigns of power and morally deserving their position. According to that, no one really could expect the wealthy and politically powerful to do anything about the impoverished if they don't get up and actualize themselves. I understand that side of the argument.

But you need to understand this side of the argument, too. The tax pie is larger than the dollars that flow out of your pocket and sometimes back into your bank account. If you've looked at that larger pie and considered that the money back is worth the programs lost, all the power to anyone who makes that free choice. But, and this is critical to my mind, if I had three children, I don't think 2 or 3 thousand dollars will make up for the lack of textbooks in their classes, let alone computers. If I had a daughter or two, I'd much rather have the free clinic down the road providing sliding scale pap-smears and birth control than that 2 grand.

If one of my children falls and breaks an arm, and I'm sitting in that 35K bracket or lower, that 2K isn't going to cover my day off from work and non-insured visit to the doctor. that's just getting in the door. we have no idea what's going to happen to low-income health insurance.

The best scenario: that savings can offset the rise in state taxes.

and then when most people are talking about <35K bearing a brunt of actual taxation, they are usually referring to what would happen if we went to a flat tax. for example, comparing the fact that they don't pay anything now to the idea that they would pay 17% of their income under a new system that didn't take into consideration all these factors I am glossing over right now.
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Old 04-05-2005, 01:51 AM   #22 (permalink)
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scout, I have thought about the idea of a true flat tax or even completely abolishing income tax in favor of a national sales tax (like Ahhnold becoming President, that'll never happen because we'd need some serious Constitutional amending, but it's an interesting thought). But yes, I DO see progressive taxes as more fair. Think about it, usually supporters of regressive taxes lean middle-to-upper class libertarian and don't want the government interfering with their lives by taking so much of their money. But regressive taxes do the same thing except to the lower class, because they spend a more significant proportion of their income on basic survival. Sure, they might be in the lower class because they're lazy, but that's not true of many of them, and even so I support the right of lazy people to survive as well, as long as they're not breaking laws at the same time. It's to everyone's benefit not to have a bunch of homeless and/or criminals running around, which I think would be a larger problem if more burden of taxation was shifted to lower income.

I don't exactly agree with the current implementation of progressive taxes, but that's why I'm thinking about a better way. And yes, at the same time, I believe the government does too much to help people who are unwilling to help themselves and spends far too much money on everything in general. Completely ignoring this proposal and just considering the current system, I would say the best single change that could be made is to shift the some of burden back from the middle class to the $300,000+ upper class.

Yakk, how about the trucker sets up a sole proprietorship and reports the $30,000 as its profit?
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Old 04-05-2005, 02:48 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
you have a warped notion of taxation.
nothing warped about it, its my tax reality.....

Quote:
Taxation isn't and shouldn't be based on one's income. Taxation should be based on use.
you are absolutely right and I agree 100% but the current system is not based upon usage but upon income.

Quote:
When you walk into a store and purchase a commodity, you pay a percentage of your consumption.
under the current STATE sales tax system this is true. there is nothing in the federal tax code that addresses consumption other than the gas tax.

Quote:
When you own property, you pay a tax on it, as well. Presumably to entice you to produce from the land.
again you are talking about STATE property taxes. I pay no federal property tax and I doubt you do either.

Quote:
Your yearly tax intended to pay for the government programs you've utilized all year long--that should be based off your use as well.
I utilize no government programs throughout the year other than the IRS when they review my tax return therefore using your sense of taxation I should have to pay nothing.

Quote:
Where you get the idea that taxation should be based off one's income, and that the only fair tax is to have everyone pay an equivalent percentage of their income is off kilter--and is only because the only income taxation scheme you've been exposed to is equally off-kilter.

But you already admitted you were off kilter. If you think the democrats are overtaxing you, that's another bizarre assertion of yours.
I admit I'm off kilter, especially this time of year. I have to pay additional income taxes, property tax and personal property tax {they are two different taxes here in the state I live in} is due next month. With all these fricken taxes who wouldn't be insane! But I sure don't see the Republicans standing in line to raise taxes like the Democrats. I may not have gotten a tax break from the Republicans but my tax percentage ain't went up either from the Republican tax policy.

If you think the current tax system is one of taxing consumption you Sir are off kilter also and I respectively disagree.

Currently we are born free and taxed to death!
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Old 04-05-2005, 03:17 AM   #24 (permalink)
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And for the record my idea of fair taxation is noone pays any tax until some mythical number but lets say or use 50 grand. After 50 grand you pay a flat percentage of your income, say 15%, no if ands or buts and you like it. You don't get any tax breaks, no write offs nothing. You pay the fricken tax. Corporate taxes should be based upon the number of employees and the amount of profit. Example, up to 20 employees you are allowed to make 200 grand in profits or 40 employees 400 grand then you pay a flat tax after that. Again, no ifs and or buts you just pay the tax. You could tier the whole corporate tax structure and base it upon employees/profit and this would promote job growth. Again, this is merely theory and all the details would need to be worked out but it's a lot fairer tax system than we have.
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Old 04-05-2005, 03:26 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout
And for the record my idea of fair taxation is noone pays any tax until some mythical number but lets say or use 50 grand. After 50 grand you pay a flat percentage of your income, say 15%, no if ands or buts and you like it. You don't get any tax breaks, no write offs nothing. You pay the fricken tax.
Isn't that exactly what I originally asked about??
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:33 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout
Yakk, how about the trucker sets up a sole proprietorship and reports the $30,000 as its profit?
If you want no deductions, you should get no deductions.

No corperate, no personal, no deductions period. Otherwise, I guarantee that nearly everyone with a large income will have deductions sufficient to lower their marginal tax rate hugely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout
I utilize no government programs throughout the year other than the IRS when they review my tax return therefore using your sense of taxation I should have to pay nothing.
You use the police and the military every second of your existance.

You use social services that keep society stable every second of your existance.

You use economic stability that keeps the economy on keel and working every second of your existance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout
I may not have gotten a tax break from the Republicans but my tax percentage ain't went up either from the Republican tax policy.
Yes it has. You just haven't paid it yet. What do you think trillions of dollars in deficit is? Future taxes.
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:46 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout
I utilize no government programs throughout the year other than the IRS when they review my tax return therefore using your sense of taxation I should have to pay nothing.
As Yakk stated people 'use' more programs than they think.

OSHA
MSHA
FCC
EPA
USDA
FDA

That's just a couple of the several programs that private industry either cannot provide or should not be trusted to provide on their own. Add in all the land management and other safety programs and you have a lot of money that is needed. None of these programs are used directly by us.
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:52 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutulu
As Yakk stated people 'use' more programs than they think.

OSHA
MSHA
FCC
EPA
USDA
FDA

That's just a couple of the several programs that private industry either cannot provide or should not be trusted to provide on their own. Add in all the land management and other safety programs and you have a lot of money that is needed. None of these programs are used directly by us.
That's a good example.

I have personal experience with four of those and I concur. Those agencies affect the quality of your life far more than many realize.
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Old 04-13-2005, 09:30 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakk
All you no deduction hawks:

Imagine you are a trucker.

You recieve income for shipping goods.

You use that income to buy gas and upkeep your truck.

You get paid 200,000$ /year to ship goods.
The gas and the truck costs 170,000$ /year.

Under the current system, your income is 30,000$/year. You pay, say, 5,000$ in income tax.

Under the new system, with no deductions and a 15% flat tax, you'd pay 30,000$/year in tax. And starve.
Sorry to butt in this way but in this example you would end up paying $4500 in taxes as the 170,000 is a cost of doing business (expense) not a deduction...Sales-cost of goods sold-other expenses=income blah blah blah

A flat tax would not change that
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Old 04-13-2005, 10:02 PM   #30 (permalink)
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To the point of this thread...the problem with this model is that "Fairness" has nothing to do with tax code. Who supposes it fair that the richest or the poorest should pay more than they already do? Taxes have become about social control and political favor than raising funds for necessary expenses...am I right? I'd love to see a flat tax, personally, but it will never happen. Why would we need the IRS? Whole industries would be wiped out...H&R et. al......

As an aside...some of the different tax policies have encouraged some really strange consequences...changing policies might just give us some new unexpected consequences.

What got me to thinking about this was Scout's idea for corporate taxes.

"Corporate taxes should be based upon the number of employees and the amount of profit. Example, up to 20 employees you are allowed to make 200 grand in profits or 40 employees 400 grand then you pay a flat tax after that. Again, no ifs and or buts you just pay the tax. You could tier the whole corporate tax structure and base it upon employees/profit and this would promote job growth. Again, this is merely theory and all the details would need to be worked out but it's a lot fairer tax system than we have."

You might get something like companies hiring hundreds of minimum wage workers or even "part time" workers to skate around the profit per number of employees thing...

A strange consequence that already exists is evident in taxation of stock dividends..Microsoft for example is sitting on piles of cash( billions I've heard) That money belongs to shareholders and has already been taxed at the corporate rate. If the money is paid out in the form of dividends it becomes taxable to shareholders at their personal rate. Many shareholders don't want to lose this money in the form of taxes and instead want the company to invest the cash in ways to increase the value of their stock. What is Microsoft to do? Invest in (BUY UP) other companies....everything from fledgling startups to the competition.

Certainly a consequence not intended
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:39 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nofnway
Sorry to butt in this way but in this example you would end up paying $4500 in taxes as the 170,000 is a cost of doing business (expense) not a deduction...Sales-cost of goods sold-other expenses=income blah blah blah

A flat tax would not change that
Cost of doing business is a tax deduction off your income.

Are we talking no-deductions or not?

Ok, lets deduct the cost of gaining your income. From everyone. From the McDonalds employee who has to take a bus to work, to the lawyer who needs to buy a suit, to the wage-slave who spends 80% of her gas mileage on commuting.

You need to eat to work. If you spend 1/3 of your life at work, 1/3 of your food budget should be deductable.

You need to travel to and from work. Cars are mostly used for commuting. Cars and gas thus should be deductable from a salary.

You need clothes for work. If 70% of the time you are wearing a piece of clothing is at, going to, or coming from work, it should be 70% deductable.

Stess from work increases your medical bills. Hard to calculate, but it is a cost of working.

Commute time is an unreimbursed cost of working.

Child care can be required for work.

Working in a city means you have to trade off between location and travel time. So, higher housing prices near the city core should be somewhat deductable.

So, do we deduct the costs of working, or not?
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Old 04-14-2005, 04:47 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakk
So, do we deduct the costs of working, or not?
If we were taxed on our profits instead of income, not many of us would show a profit at the end of the year.
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Old 04-15-2005, 06:06 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Because your system punishes those who produce more.
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Old 04-15-2005, 08:32 AM   #34 (permalink)
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The system rewards those who produce more. Are you telling me that people who produce more don't, all things being equal, end up with more rewards under the American economic system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
If we were taxed on our profits instead of income, not many of us would show a profit at the end of the year.
Yes. And it would shift the tax burden from the poor to the rich far more effectively than the current tax system, assuming a flat tax on profits.

The current income-tax model rewards people who can replace "income" with "profit" under the tax laws.

Build an income-tax model that doesn't do this, and you could argue it is fair.
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Old 04-15-2005, 09:28 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakk
Cost of doing business is a tax deduction off your income.Ok, lets deduct the cost of gaining your income. From everyone. From the McDonalds employee who has to take a bus to work, to the lawyer who needs to buy a suit, to the wage-slave who spends 80% of her gas mileage on commuting.
No shit, I make nearly 50k/year so you'd think that I'd be able to live pretty comfortably and have a modest disposable income. However once I pay our car payments, insurance, rent, etc. etc. etc., all I have left is food money. I haven't bought clothes in two years. If I could deduct all my 'cost of working' and 'cost of living' expenses I'd pay taxes on less than 10k/year.
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