Almost all governments across the globe are funded– in some form – by the taxation of its citizens. Certain of the taxes are collected at the time of sales or service whereas certain others in a 12 month period or at the end of what they call a fiscal year. Taxes on earnings or income tax is such a yearly beast.
Taxes on earnings are essentially a bill from the federal and state governments, declaring the rules of taxation on one’s personal earnings through salaries and investment profits. It has been designed as a progressive tax in which the financial obligations of an individual increase with the rise in his/her reportable income.
In United States, taxes on earnings came to effect officially or in a full swing after the passing of national income tax law in 1914. At that time, the law was mainly aimed at the rich and the greediest among the population who owned a lot of wealth in contradiction to the majority of the people. Eventually in another few years, the tax on earnings would trickle down to the middle and lower working classes. In reality, even though the tax on earnings is progressive, big corporate and wealthiest individuals enjoy a lot of legal exceptions as of now at least.
Taxes on earnings are levied only on a positive income and not on net loss. The taxes on earnings structure has been designed in such a way that individuals can earn a certain non-taxable income, the standard deduction amount being decided by the state and federal governments and subsequently listed on the respective tax forms. It follows that if a person is not earning an amount that is above the specified standard deduction amount, then he/she need not have to pay the taxes on earnings.
In the case of wage earners, the department of payroll is obliged to cut a set percentage of the money from the pay checks for taxation purposes. The amount to be deducted is decided on the basis of some specific calculations based on the individual’s dependency and marital status. The amount deducted in this regard is shown in an official tax form called a W-2. The untaxed income will be reported on a form called a 1099.
The income tax season is from January to April 14 and during this period every individual should report their total income from wages and profits from investments to the government without fail. The amount to be paid as tax will be in give a chart provided with the form 1040.
If the amount deducted by the payroll department is higher than the amount specified by the chart, then the excess amount deducted will be refunded. If it is the other way around, the individual must pay the IRS accordingly.
For a middle class person, the taxes on earnings can amount to 15% of their gross annual income. By sighting expenses related to their profession, one can claim legal deductions from the tax to be paid thus reducing the amount significantly. Also charity donations can serve to offset taxes on earnings.
There is more than one provision by which one could save on the taxes on earnings while still remaining within the contours as mandated by the tax laws. A tax preparing firm or an experienced accountant could help one in using the tax concessions to the fullest.