Professor Priscilla Patten
English 215 Research and Writing
5 May 2012
In the economy today a large number of Americans do not pay Federal Income Tax. This is not fair to the citizens who are required by law to pay taxes. Why should only half of the country bear the burden of paying taxes to support the United States? Every person living in America needs to stand up, take responsibility and pay their share of taxes to ensure the Nations financial stability. John F. Kennedy once said, "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." If the current tax situation in America is not resolved, eventually America will be broke. Those not paying taxes are the very same people that are bleeding America dry, they believe the federal government should support them and their families. What would happen if everyone believed that it was alright to sit home and wait on others to give them everything needed to sustain life? The nation as a whole would no longer exist. When almost half of all Americans do not pay income tax and do not contribute anything to the funding of the United States, there has to be change. To be clear, 47 percent of Americans account for the people who do not pay any federal taxes. Of this 47 percent about 33 percent paid in what is referred to as payroll tax which includes Social Security and Medicare (Gleckman, 2010). This means 14 percent of Americans paid absolutely no taxes, contributing nothing to the financial well being of the United States. Who is not paying taxes and why? Of those not paying income tax, 40 percent are single filing joint returns and 70 percent are claiming head of house hold (Robert Williams,n.d.). [pic](Bluey,n.d.)
Taxes have always been at the fore front of American politics. Beginning with the Boston Tea Party in 1773 when American Colonists boarded three ships in the Boston harbor to protest over the 1765 Stamp Act. The Act taxed paper products including newspapers, playing cards and legal documents. In 1767 taxes were added to paint, paper and tea which lead to the Boston Tea Party. After the American Revolution one of the first taxes created was known as the Sin Tax which taxed distilled beverages. The tax was met with anger by settlers living in the outer most areas in the United States where most of the distilled beverages were being produced. During the War of 1812 the American Congress looked at adopting an income tax, but the war ended before the tax was needed. Then in 1861 to pay for the Civil War, Congress passed an income tax law that took a year to ratify and was finally enacted in 1862. With this law, everyone was taxed on their income. Those earning an income up to $10,000 were taxed 3 percent and those earning over $10,000 were taxed 5 percent of their wages. This law was meant to be temporary and was repealed in 1872.
Congress began looking at income tax again in the 1890's, but the law they created was deemed unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1894 because the Constitution only enabled the collection of taxes based on the population of the States. In 1913 Congress amended the US Constitution by adding the 13th Amendment that gave Congress the authority to collect income tax. "Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on income from whatever source derived, without apportionment among several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." (Gleckman, 2010)
The American tax code is so complicated that the average Americans cannot figure out how to fill out their own taxes. Fox News reported that 89 percent of Americans use a tax preparer. The Internal Revenue code consists of 308 billion words! The American tax payers spend approximately 163 billion annually to comply with tax laws and work an average of 26 hours per year...