Understanding Taxes

Tax is a financial charge or some type of levy that is imposed by a governmental body. The money raised from this fee pays for public spending and various government expenditures. There are three basic types of tax: Income, Wealth, and Excise. The following sections will discuss each type in more detail. To understand a tax properly, you should familiarize yourself with the law and what your obligations are. Here are some common tax laws.


Although a variety of taxes are levied, income tax is considered the fairest form of taxation, because it measures an individual’s ability to pay taxes. Unlike other taxes, such as sales or property taxes, income tax is relatively simple to change, even when life-course circumstances affect a person’s ability to pay. Consequently, it’s essential to understand the terminology involved. Below are some key terms and definitions.


Wealth taxation is a potential way for governments to redress the inequality in wealth. In the United States, income inequality has reached a high point, with the top 5% of households earning more than 23% of the total income. While US tax policy has traditionally focused on income taxation, which applies to money earned annually by individuals and businesses, wealth taxation could shift the focus to assets owned by individuals. In theory, this tax could lower income taxes for the very wealthy, but how would it work in practice?


In many countries, consumption tax revenue is a significant source of revenue for government. It makes up roughly a third of the total revenue in many OECD countries. In the United States, the federal government has only a small percentage of its tax revenue devoted to consumption taxes, which make up less than twenty percent of total tax revenue. Many other countries also collect some form of consumption tax, but it is not universal. This article will look at some of the common forms of consumption taxes.

Excise taxes

Excise taxes are general sales taxes that raise the cost of a particular commodity, and thereby decrease consumer demand. Excises are used to raise revenue and discourage particular behavior or consumption, and are often justified on both grounds. Taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and gasoline, for example, are justified on both grounds. Although some economists believe that the most efficient excise taxes are those that target the most inelastic sources of demand, most of the items on the excise tax list have long-term elasticity.

Capital gains

While a small part of the overall revenue generated by individual income taxation, the Tax on Capital Gains generally represents a relatively small proportion of total revenue. Specifically, in 2019, capital gains tax revenues accounted for $183 billion or 0.9 percent of GDP. The rate of taxation is also adjusted upward to account for inflation. This article will discuss the various aspects of the tax and how it affects individuals. Further, it will examine the advantages and disadvantages of the tax.

Estate taxes

Many conservatives argue that the estate tax is double taxation because the assets subject to the tax are already subject to income taxes. However, many large estates are comprised of unrealized capital gains, which are not taxed. This tax raises $225 billion for the government over a decade. Rep. Kevin Brady has introduced a bill to repeal the estate tax that has a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives co-sponsoring it. The following is an overview of the key facts that will help you make an informed decision about your estate planning.

Poll taxes

The constitutionality of poll taxes was challenged by many groups and individuals in the 1960s, including civil rights activists. In the 1960s, the Supreme Court affirmed that poll taxes could not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, the courts did not immediately overturn the tax, and many plaintiffs filed suit. This case is largely ignored by historians today. Nevertheless, it is important to note that many states still have poll taxes.


Before you buy an annuity, it is important to understand how taxes on the withdrawal will affect the tax-deferred growth. Some annuities are qualified, while others are not. You may not know which type to choose, or whether you should make withdrawals tax-free. A personal tax consultation can help you determine the best option for your situation. Here are the basic rules:

Capital gains taxes

Capital gains taxes are important for many reasons, not the least of which is that they generate revenue to help support three important building blocks of thriving communities. They increase the share of state revenue paid by the wealthy, allowing states to lower taxes on those earning moderate incomes who spend a larger share of their incomes to support local economies. But capital gains taxes are not without controversy. President Obama recently called for the elimination of special treatment for the wealthy and suggested that capital gains be taxed on the same level as ordinary income. Both of these changes would mitigate the increasing concentration of wealth and raise significant revenues.

Sales taxes

Although all products are subject to sales taxes, some products are exempt from the tax, such as certain prescription drugs. Also, many states do not charge sales tax on clothing or medical devices. These exceptions allow consumers to purchase items without paying sales tax during sales tax holidays, which usually coincide with the start of the school year. Sales taxes are generally lower for items that are donated to a charity. And some states may even give their residents free tax lending money on some items.