Ready to Get Depressed… How Many Different Taxes Do I Pay?

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The one thing you can’t accuse our tax code of being is simple. In fact, complicated isn’t a word that sufficiently describes the tome that is the US Tax Code. Did you know it’s 3.8 million words long? Did you know that 75 years ago, it was a total of two pages long, but now it’s 189 pages long? No wonder the US tax system is so convoluted and why so many people dread tax season. And why CPAs make so much money digging into everything from sales taxes to estate and inheritance taxes.

I Pay How Many Different Taxes?!?!

As you can imagine, in a 189-page tome, there’s bound to be a lot of taxes. But did you know that we have to pay 97 taxes? Yes, you read that right, there are 97 taxes you have to pay. Is it a wonder that the IRS has nearly 2,000 publications, forms and instruction sheets you can download off their website?

But there seems to be some method to the madness. In 1998, when the tax code was slightly shorter, Money Magazine asked 46 different tax professionals to fill out a income tax return for a household. It was all hypothetical, of course.

Now, you’d expect these professionals to know their business, which, of course, they did. Another thing you’d expect would be for them to generate consistent results, right? Well, no. They all had different results for a simple income tax return.

In 2009, PC World tried a similar experiment, except this time it was with five of the top tax preparation software websites. Again, they all had different results.

Apparently, those 97 taxes are too complicated even for the professionals, so it’s no wonder the rest of us regular folk shy away from completing tax returns. Clearly, it’s almost impossible to do it correctly. Even if a professional is doing it.

So, where’s the method? Well, incorrectly filed taxes lead to fines, which means the government makes more money. Of course, that could be construed as a conspiracy theory, but it still makes one wonder. After all, how can one not think conspiracy when you see things like “Flush Taxes” in the list, right? What’s next? A tax on using toilet paper? One thing’s for sure, when they start taxing us to breathe, we might have to consider moving.

Here are the 97 taxes in the US tax code:

  1. Air Transportation Taxes
  2. Biodiesel Fuel Taxes
  3. Building Permit Taxes
  4. Business Registration Fees
  5. Capital Gains Taxes
  6. Cigarette Taxes
  7. Court Fines
  8. Disposal Fees
  9. Dog License Taxes
  10. Drivers License Fees
  11. Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax
  12. Employer Medicare Taxes
  13. Employer Social Security Taxes
  14. Environmental Fees
  15. Estate Taxes
  16. Excise Taxes On Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans
  17. Federal Corporate Taxes
  18. Federal Income Taxes
  19. Federal Unemployment Taxes
  20. Fishing License Taxes
  21. Flush Taxes
  22. Food And Beverage License Fees
  23. Franchise Business Taxes
  24. Garbage Taxes
  25. Gasoline Taxes
  26. Gift Taxes
  27. Gun Ownership Permits
  28. Hazardous Material Disposal Fees
  29. Highway Access Fees
  30. Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite large in some areas)
  31. Hunting License Taxes
  32. Import Taxes
  33. Individual Health Insurance Mandate Taxes
  34. Inheritance Taxes
  35. Insect Control Hazardous Materials Licenses
  36. Inspection Fees
  37. Insurance Premium Taxes
  38. Interstate User Diesel Fuel Taxes
  39. Inventory Taxes
  40. IRA Early Withdrawal Taxes
  41. IRS Interest Charges
  42. IRS Penalties
  43. Library Taxes
  44. License Plate Fees
  45. Liquor Taxes
  46. Local Corporate Taxes
  47. Local Income Taxes
  48. Local School Taxes
  49. Local Unemployment Taxes
  50. Luxury Taxes
  51. Marriage License Taxes
  52. Medicare Taxes
  53. Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare
  54. Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax
  55. Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income
  56. Parking Meters
  57. Passport Fees
  58. Professional Licenses And Fees (another form of taxation)
  59. Property Taxes
  60. Real Estate Taxes
  61. Recreational Vehicle Taxes
  62. Registration Fees For New Businesses
  63. Toll Booth Taxes
  64. Sales Taxes
  65. Self-Employment Taxes
  66. Sewer & Water Taxes
  67. School Taxes
  68. Septic Permit Taxes
  69. Service Charge Taxes
  70. Social Security Taxes
  71. Special Assessments For Road Repairs Or Construction
  72. Sports Stadium Taxes
  73. State Corporate Taxes
  74. State Income Taxes
  75. State Park Entrance Fees
  76. State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)
  77. Tanning Taxes
  78. Telephone 911 Service Taxes
  79. Telephone Federal Excise Taxes
  80. Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes
  81. Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes
  82. Telephone State And Local Taxes
  83. Telephone Universal Access Taxes
  84. The Alternative Minimum Tax
  85. Tire Recycling Fees
  86. Tire Taxes
  87. Tolls
  88. Traffic Fines
  89. Use Taxes
  90. Utility Taxes
  91. Vehicle Registration Taxes
  92. Waste Management Taxes
  93. Water Rights Fees
  94. Watercraft Registration & Licensing Fees
  95. Well Permit Fees
  96. Workers Compensation Taxes
  97. Zoning Permit Fees

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The U.S. tax system’s complexity, exemplified by its 97 distinct taxes and a massive 3.8 million-word Tax Code, poses significant challenges for both professionals and everyday taxpayers alike. This intricate network of taxes not only makes tax preparation a daunting task but also raises questions about the efficiency and fairness of the system. The discrepancies in tax filing outcomes, whether done by human professionals or sophisticated software, suggest a need for simplification and reform. As taxpayers grapple with an ever-expanding list of taxes, from the mundane to the bizarre, it becomes imperative to seek education on tax matters. Armed with knowledge, taxpayers can navigate the labyrinth of the tax code more effectively and potentially safeguard themselves against undue financial burdens. Ultimately, a push towards a more straightforward and transparent tax system could benefit all, reducing confusion and ensuring a fairer process for contributing to the nation’s needs.

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