10 Things You Didn't Know About Taxes

Geo Beats
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Tax season doesn’t have to be all about drudgery and angst. Here are 10 unusual and fascinating facts about taxes.

Got my tax check coming, got my tax check coming.

Tax season doesn’t have to be all about drudgery and angst.
Here are 10 unusual and fascinating facts about taxes.

Number 10. The IRS mascot was once Donald Duck.

"It may not seem important to you but it is important."
"What?"
"Yes, and it's your privilege. Not just your duty but your privilege to help your government by paying your tax."

When taxes first extended beyond the rich and into the middle and lower income brackets, people were reluctant to pay them. The IRS hired Disney to make short films to show people how cool taxes are, and they starred Donald Duck.

Number 9. Abraham Lincoln introduced income tax. The Civil War was expensive and to help cover the costs, in 1862 Honest Abe started taxing individual earnings. Prior to that, most dollars came from import and excise taxes.

Number 8. The first income tax was as low as 3 percent. Lincoln’s tax didn’t last long, but while it was in effect it was only 3% for incomes between 600 and 10 thousand dollars and 5 percent for anything over that. Income tax was repealed in 1872.

Number 7. Income tax has been as high as 77 percent. The repeal on income tax didn’t last long, and by 1918 it had not only returned, but ballooned to 77 percent. Again, it was used to help the war effort, so in more peaceful times it dropped and by 1929 was 24 percent.

Number 6. President Obama pays a lot of income tax. In 2012 he and the First Lady forked over around 112 thousand dollars in federal taxes. That put them at a rate of just over 18 percent. The Bidens also parted with a big chunk of money – nearly 90 thousand bucks.

Number 5. The average 2012 refund was 28 hundred dollars. In total, over a hundred million filers got money back and the total sent out by the IRS was just shy of 310 billion dollars.

Number 4. In 2012 a multi-billion dollar fraudulent filing disaster was averted. The IRS successfully identified and flagged a large number of suspicious returns, many due to identity theft. As a result, 20 billion dollars in refunds never hit the mail.

Number 3. Exxon Mobil paid 31 billion dollars in taxes last year. Chevron and Apple were two more big corporate payers, shelling out 20 and 14 billion respectively.

Number 2. Verizon may not pay any taxes. In spite of the fact that the company is valued at over 145 billion dollars, their effective tax rate over the past 12 months has been reported at 0 percent. MetLife and Eaton have claimed the same.

Number 1. There’s tax rule for sliced bagels. In New York City, if they’re cut, sales tax applies. When they’re not, it doesn’t.

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