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10 Fun Tax Facts ;)

by J. Money on Tuesday, April 17, 2012

taxes too high license plate

Naturally it’s our job, as personal finance bloggers, to remind you that today is the deadline to file all your sexy taxes. (So if you haven’t done so already, hurry up or file an automatic extension!) But rather than get into anything much deeper than that – for fear of boring you right outta here -  I figured we’d make it fun and fill your heads today with more fascinating factoids instead. You know, in case you’re trying to woo any ladies or impress your boss this week ;)

So, courtesy of my friends at Bargaineering and Mango Money, Here are 10 pretty cool facts about our beloved taxes. Don’t say I never give you anything!

  1. The first income tax ever was in 1404 in England.
  2. In 1789, at the start of the French Revolution, tax collectors were sent to the guillotine.
  3. The first property tax in the US was in 1798: On land, houses, and slaves.
  4. The first US income tax started during in the Civil War to help raise money back in 1862.
  5. The first e-file (electronic transmission of a tax return) occurred on January 24, 1986.
  6. 61% of US corporations paid no income tax between 1996 and 2000. (!!!)
  7. A “Jock Tax” is levied on athletes who earn an income competing in a particular city or state. California first levied this tax on athletes from Chicago in 1991 after the Chicago Bulls beat the LA Lakers in the ’91 NBA finals.
  8. Alabama has a 10-cent tax on a deck of playing cards.
  9. Peter the Great in Russia once taxed beards on all men except for peasants and priests. (HAH! I’d have been in a lot of trouble this year, then ;) )
  10. There are over 7 million words in the tax law and regulations. That beats the Gettysburg address, the Declaration of Independence, and the Holy Bible all rolled into one (269+1,337+773k).

Wild, huh?  I think one of the first versions of the 1040 was something like 3 pages long too – so frustrating how complicated it’s gotten over the years :(  Though I suppose my accountant likes it ;)  In a way, it keeps millions of people employed! Haha… so there’s that.

How many of you still haven’t filed?  You saying “screw it,” or gonna go for the nice extension and avoid penalties? (I hope it’s the latter!) I can’t tell you how glad I am to be done with it this year – probably the worst time I’ve had since I’ve turned 16, bleh.  Hope you guys got a lot back this year!!  I know people hate on “loaning the gov’t” money like that, but I’d take it HANDS DOWN any day.  Much better than owing over $6,000 one day, believe me. Overpay all you want and do something good with that money at the end of the year!

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PS: For a good read on *more* interesting tax facts – including a whole bunch that would probably piss you off – check out Jim’s total list of 50 fun facts. Happy Tax Day!

(Photo by Gamma Man)

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alex April 17, 2012 at 6:29 am

There needs to be a simpler and fairer system…ugh!

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2 Frugal Fries April 17, 2012 at 7:40 am

The jock tax seems a bit unfair! Also, I should definitely start taxing my fiance whenever his facial hair reaches beard territory–that fuzz is scratchy as heck!

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3 Michelle April 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

Interesting facts! The jock tax would make me mad if I was one of them!

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4 J. Money April 17, 2012 at 8:59 am

@Alex – I’d like that very much :(
@Frugal Fries – HAH! My wife would agree with you 100% there ;)
@Michelle – I know, right? At least we don’t have *that* to worry about these days.

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5 Stephanie April 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

I’m totally with you on being ok with loaning the government money if it means I get a refund. I’m generally pretty disciplined when it comes to money, but if I got that extra cash in small chunks through the year, you can bet I’d spend it! This way, I’m forced to save it throughout the year and actually do something useful with it when I get that refund. This year we’re putting in a fence. :-)

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6 philip April 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

61% of US corporations paid no income tax between 1996 and 2000. (!!!) That is crazy, I wonder if it was just a ton of small businesses that didn’t make enough or what the deal is there.

There are over 7 million words in the tax law and regulations. That beats the Gettysburg address, the Declaration of Independence, and the Holy Bible all rolled into one (269+1,337+773k).
haha – the declaration of independence is “leet”

I am right there with you on getting a refund instead of owing them. I know the money would have disappeared most likely, it feels good to get about 1k back in a single drop that has nowhere in particular to go.

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7 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com April 17, 2012 at 9:26 am

Here’s another fun fact.

If you are getting a refund, April 17th means nothing to you. The government doesn’t care when you file your taxes if they have to give you money. Failure to file fees are only charged on people who owe the government money.

So if know you’re getting a refund but don’t have your taxes done today, you can chill out. :)

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8 Trinnie April 17, 2012 at 9:59 am

Which is why we haven’t filed our taxes yet, we have a pretty decent refund comin’ our way!. My hubby and I don’t count on that refund for spending purposes, so we just save it…we’ll get around to doing them…eventually.

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9 J. Money April 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

@Stephanie – Yes! Exactly. Plus you get that nice feeling of getting a big chunk like that every year – it’s wonderful! :)
@philip – Yup! Do you have any good plans for it yet, or still thinking about it?
@Kevin @ Thousandaire.com – What? Really? How would they know that they owe you though, if you don’t file? ;) I bet if you wait till the end of the year, let’s say, you may get a nice warning in the mail perhaps, no?
@Trinnie – Hey, no shame in that! Saving it is a *perfect* idea while you’re figuring out what to do with it… and then if you forget or decide not to worry about it, then it’ll still be there for you whenever you need it later :) I knew I liked you for a reason.

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10 Squeezer @Personal Finance Success April 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

Why would you want corporations to pay higher taxes? They will just pass it on to us consumers in the form of higher prices.

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11 Jeff @My Multiple Streams April 17, 2012 at 10:56 am

Just filled. $9k owed :( I didn’t do quarterly but going to try next quarter

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12 GB @ In Budgets We Trust April 17, 2012 at 11:00 am

Taxes filed! Yes! I just heard that a lot of restaurants are having tax deadline specials, like two free Cinnabon bites at Cinnabon and 20 boneless wings for $10 at Hooters.

haha. The jock tax and beard tax are totally unfair and crack me up. Good list!

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13 Stephanie April 17, 2012 at 11:08 am

I’m totally against getting refunds back (even though I screwed up somehow with my w/h and got some back this year) because of the way our society blows the money when they get that check back. “I was 2 months late paying my ::insert necessity here::, but look at this ah-mazing flat screen TV I got back wtih my refund! Cha-ching!”

I’m totally pro-VAT tax system and wish our country could adapt it. You’re taxed on your what you consume not what you earn. I think paying 15-20% in taxes on your purchases would help people realize if they really NEED something or not.

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14 This Aggie Saves April 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

I don’t believe my parents have filed yet, while I filed way back in early February. They have some pretty complex estate stuff they’re working through with the death of my grandparents. I just hope they filed an extension!

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15 LB April 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I was expecting to pay in so I did a lot of advance planning with donations and such. Thank goodness for my surgery and retirement fund, because I squeaked out a nice $1000 refund instead of owing around $4000

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16 LifeInTransition April 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for the fun facts! My favorite one is the tax on beards.

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17 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager April 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

11. In 2012, Adaptu launched their Android App on Tax Day: https://welcome.adaptu.com/adaptu-to-go.html

Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

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18 J. Money April 18, 2012 at 10:48 am

@Squeezer @Personal Finance Success – Yeah that’s no good either!
@Jeff @My Multiple Streams – Ouch, sorry to hear! But also, congrats on making lots of money! :) My accountant told me I HAD to file quarterly unless I liked paying fees for not doing so, haha… so that’s why I started doing it ;) It’s not as bad as it was last year when I was getting used to it, but it’s never fun manually cutting checks for that stuff either. I liked having it automated at my 9-5!
@GB @ In Budgets We Trust – HAH! As if I needed even more reasons to like Hooters and Cinnabon ;)
@Stephanie – I would be interested in learning more about VAT too – it def. makes sense on the surface. I know I’d cut back a bit if that were the case! :)
@This Aggie Saves – Yikes! Sorry to hear about your loss too, that’s never fun :( We lost our last grandparents the past couple years too, I miss ‘em!
@LB – Woahhh good job! I don’t know if I’d want to go into surgery to get around it, but way to go! Haha…
@LifeInTransition – One of my faves too :)
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Oh jeez, haha… you are good!

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19 Stephanie April 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I think I’m a VAT fan because I also really support and believe in flat tax. Here’s an old article, but this is a general idea on VAT: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503983_162-20001918-503983.html

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20 J. Money April 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Great, thanks – I’ll go and check out now :) I *think* I’m for it too, but don’t know enough yet…

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