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What Is Tax Law?


The federal tax code is complex. This complexity generally arises from two factors: the use of the tax code for purposes other than raising revenue, and the feedback process of amending the code.

While its main intent is to provide revenue for the federal government, the tax code is frequently used to direct the behavior of businesses and individuals in an attempt to achieve social, economic, and political goals.

For example, the tax law provides a deduction for mortgage interest in order to encourage home ownership. A theoretically pure income tax would not allow this deduction, which is not an expense incurred for the production of income. The allowance of the mortgage interest deduction is seen by some as discrimination against taxpayers who rent, rather than own, their home: the payment of rent for one's home is not deductible. Of course in theory, landlords generate tax savings on their mortgage interest payments, and pass these savings on to renters.

Because the government uses the tax code as an instrument of social policy, the code as a whole appears to lack a coherent organizing principle. This lack of a coherent organizing principle has become magnified over time, due to the interplay between successive legislative amendments and regulatory changes to the law and the private sector responses to those amendments and changes. For instance, suppose that Congress enacts a tax credit to encourage a particular type of activity. In response, a group of taxpayers who are not the intended beneficiaries of the credit re-order their affairs, or the superficial aspects of their affairs, to qualify for the credit.

Congress responds by amending the code to add restrictions and target the credit more effectively. Certain taxpayers manage to use this change to claim additional benefits, so Congress acts again, and so on. The result is a feedback loop of enactment and response, which, over an extended period of time, produces significant complexity.

In general, the U.S. income tax is highly progressive, at least with respect to individuals that earn wage income. As of 2001, the top 1 percent of individual taxpayers paid approximately 23 percent of all federal taxes. The top 5 percent paid approximately 39 percent, and the top 10 percent paid 50 percent of all federal taxes. The bottom 20 percent of taxpayers paid a little over 1 percent of all federal taxes.

Moreover, the progressivity of the U.S. tax system has gradually increased over recent decades. The top 20 percent of taxpayers paid approximately 56 percent of all taxes in 1980, and this figure gradually has risen to 65 percent, as of 2001. In recent years, however, a reduction in the tax rates applicable to capital gains has significantly reduced the income tax burden on non-wage income. In this regard, the general structure of the U.S. tax system has begun to resemble a partial consumption-tax regime.

For more free legal information on Tax Law, please visit Free Legal Information.


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Taxes - Google News

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The case for a junk food tax - Vox


Vox

The case for a junk food tax
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Some kind of government intervention in the food environment probably has to be part of the solution. Taxes have been an effective, though still controversial, approach to curbing the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and soda. Now researchers from New ...

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4 things to know about the new US tax law - Yahoo Finance


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4 things to know about the new US tax law
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Under the old tax code, the average family of four (that submitted taxes married-filing-jointly) received a tax break of $16,200 through the personal exemption, one $4,050 exemption for every member of the family. That's gone now, but in its place the ...
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9 Ways the New Tax Law Affects Millennials - Investopedia (blog)


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The new tax law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, has generated significant buzz as tax experts speculate on how the average American's tax bill will be affected. Some of the most important changes center on key deductions and credits that could have a ...
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Phone, hotel taxes likely to rise in Naperville - Chicago Daily Herald


Phone, hotel taxes likely to rise in Naperville
Chicago Daily Herald
"From my perspective, especially with the new federal tax law that caps state and local taxes at a $10,000 deduction, it makes a lot of sense to look for alternative revenue streams other than property taxes," Mayor Steve Chirico said. "I think these ...

Did Cook County's failed soda tax cause sales taxes to fizzle, too? - Chicago Daily Herald


Chicago Daily Herald

Did Cook County's failed soda tax cause sales taxes to fizzle, too?
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The decline in tax revenue from August to September is the equivalent of nearly 2 million fewer 2-liter bottles of soda being sold. Receipts from November -- the fourth and final month the sweetened beverage tax was in effect -- aren't expected until ...

The Government's Taxes on Citizens' Free Time - New Republic


New Republic

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When will workers see the fruits of the recently passed Republican tax bill? In just a few weeks, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Last Thursday, the agency released updated tax withholding tables for employers, so that the amount taken out ...
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State of Taxes: Rockland County braces for 2018 tax debate: Tax Watch - The Journal News | LoHud.com


The Journal News | LoHud.com

State of Taxes: Rockland County braces for 2018 tax debate: Tax Watch
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Tax Watch columnist David McKay Wilson looks into the tax debate brewing on many levels in Rockland County in 2018. A decade after borrowing $191 million to pay property tax refunds to a power plant owner, the North Rockland schools still have 20 more ...

Analysis: There's a reason Texas governors keep failing to lower property taxes - Texas Tribune


Texas Tribune

Analysis: There's a reason Texas governors keep failing to lower property taxes
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It's in the Texas Constitution: The state can't levy a property tax. The governor and the Legislature can't lower rates. The state doesn't do property appraisals, either, so they can't mess with the value of any particular property on the tax rolls ...
Abbott wants to limit local jurisdictions' ability to raise Texans' taxes Dallas News
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Financial Sinkhole States In The Trump Tax Era - Forbes


Forbes

Financial Sinkhole States In The Trump Tax Era
Forbes
What damage will the loss of a deduction do to blue states with stiff taxes? Do you live in a sinkhole state? There are eight of them, led by California and New York. These are places where the population dependent on the state — for employment ...

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