Half of you are reading this instead of finishing your federal income taxes. While we have an extra weekend to get the number crunching done -- taxes aren’t due until April 18 this year -- only about half of us have finished and turned in our paperwork. Whether you’re logging time with TurboTax or awaiting the Treasury Department to dump your refund into your bank account, ask yourself this week, “Am I getting what I pay for?”
Forget all the political rhetoric surrounding taxes. Ignore the IRS tax bracket math. Look at your effective tax rate. If you do your own 1040, take your federal income tax and divide by your adjusted gross income. For those who are not CPAs, take line 60 on your 1040 form and divide it by line 37. The result is how much of every dollar you earned last year Uncle Sam took. It’s probably around 13 cents to 17 cents of every dollar.
And what did you get for that money? Schools, roads and cancer research are among the things your income tax dollars fund. You also got natural treasures from the Everglades in Florida to the Lassen Volcanic National Park in California.
Plus Tomahawk missiles, Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and Camp Victory in Iraq.
While Congress dithers about how to spend your dollars, Uncle Sam continues collecting those dollars.