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How the burrito became a sandwich

NPR's Planet Money explains the history of the sales tax in the United States by tracing what kinds of sandwiches get taxed and why: How the Burrito Became a Sandwich. Bonus: In-N-Out Burger history in the podcast.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 22, 2014 - 154 comments

Miami Tax Vice

Beware of Gangsters Filing Tax Returns. Florida gangbangers have found a new path to illicit riches: tax refund fraud.
posted by gottabefunky on Jan 10, 2014 - 25 comments

When To Start Caring About the Powerball Jackpot

Walter Hickey at Business Insider looks at when you should buy a Powerball ticket and whether to take the lump sum or annuity if you win.
posted by reenum on Sep 28, 2013 - 50 comments

Who Audits The Auditors?

On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) apologized to conservative non-profit 501(c)4 groups for singling them out for heightened scrutiny during the 2012 campaign season. While the abuses were initially blamed on "low-level" workers in the agency's Cincinnati office, new questions were raised Saturday with a report that senior IRS officials were aware of the practice as early as 2011. That senior IRS officials knew of the politically-selective practices "seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner." [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on May 11, 2013 - 366 comments

It's just a one-time fee that you pay annually

As the tax deadline approaches in the United States, ProPublica investigates why the promise of free and simple tax filing has yet to be fulfilled.
posted by antonymous on Mar 26, 2013 - 61 comments

The New York Times - Complaints Aside, Most Face Lower Tax Burden Than in 1980

The New York Times examines how American taxes have changed since 1980
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 30, 2012 - 105 comments

The iEconomy

The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 8, 2012 - 16 comments

HE'S A SOCIALIST!

A society where the lucky few reap prodigious financial rewards is one where many will fall short of their dreams through no fault of their own. We must insure all people against disability, against sickness, against hunger, and against homelessness. I realize that these things cost money. I believe that the costs of building and maintaining a great country should be shared by all of us, beginning with the people who benefit the most from our society. I believe that people like me (and people who are far wealthier) should pay more in taxes.

So-called "job creator" acknowledges that he lives in a society and owes a debt to it, as a response to (seemingly in agreement with) a satirical Job Creator Manifesto published in the Washington Post. [more inside]
posted by univac on Oct 6, 2012 - 40 comments

This is why Jakob Ander won't hire you

This is why I don't give you a job. Hungarian blogger Jakab Andor breaks down the numbers and explains why taxes and regulations make it highly unappealing for him to start a small business employing people in Hungary. He also argues that these same factors make women and older people particularly unappealing prospects. His comments generated quite a bit of controversy (warning: most comments in Hungarian), to which he responded with an offer.
posted by shivohum on Jan 13, 2012 - 96 comments

Bubbles and Public Facts

The Destruction of Economic Facts - "Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 23, 2011 - 35 comments

Tax Facts Hardly Anyone Knows

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes - "4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all: Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero... 9. Other countries do it better: no one in Germany or the rest of the modern world goes broke because of accident or illness" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2011 - 191 comments

Secrets of the Tax-Prep Business

"Customers wanting a RAL paid Jackson Hewitt a $24 application fee, a $25 processing fee, and a $2 electronic-filing fee, plus 4 percent of the loan amount. On a $2,000 refund, that meant $131 in charges—equivalent to an annual interest rate of about 170 percent—not to mention the few hundred bucks you might spend for tax preparation."
posted by vidur on Apr 14, 2011 - 71 comments

entrepreneurial paradise

In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism - We venture to the very heart of the hell that is Scandinavian socialism—and find out that it's not so bad. Pricey, yes, but a good place to start and run a company. What exactly does that suggest about the link between taxes and entrepreneurship?
posted by kliuless on Jan 20, 2011 - 52 comments

Goodbye Gordo

The Honourable Gordon Campbell has resigned as Premier of British Columbia. Citing his spectacular unpopularity, his resignation comes after almost a decade in power. His tenure has been dogged by scandal, and most recently, a barrage of protest over the newly implemented HST. His most lasting legacy may prove to be the implementation of North America's first carbon tax.
posted by [expletive deleted] on Nov 3, 2010 - 89 comments

The Gentle Art of Poverty

A former magazine writer in his late fifties moves to San Diego and lives on very little money indeed. In the October 1977 issue of The Atlantic, he describes the stratagems behind his thriftiness. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 7, 2010 - 23 comments

The Opening of a Conservative Mind

Bruce Bartlett, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, speaks out against Republicans - The monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party is something amazing to behold. And their dimwitted accomplices in the tea-party movement are not much better. They know that Republicans, far more than Democrats, are responsible for our fiscal mess, but they won't say so. And they adamantly refuse to put on the table any meaningful programme that would actually reduce spending. Judging by polls, most of them seem to think that all we have to do is cut foreign aid, which represents well less than 1% of the budget. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 26, 2010 - 156 comments

Single-engine plane crash in Austin, Texas

This morning, in Austin, Texas, a Piper Cherokee single-engine plane [was] crashed into an office building partially occupied by the IRS. It appears to be the work of an individual, but the story keeps getting weirder. The suspected person may have also burned his house down this morning.
posted by fiercecupcake on Feb 18, 2010 - 236 comments

Where do my taxes go?

Where does my tax money go? From USA Today, a calculator and graph that lets you enter your salary and shows you how your tax dollars are spent. You can also change the year shown, so that you can compare now and then.
posted by OmieWise on Feb 3, 2010 - 39 comments

No Country For Old Men

On January 1st, the U.S. estate tax will disappear. For exactly one year. Then it will come back higher on Jan. 1, 2011. Will lots of old rich people die? [more inside]
posted by msalt on Dec 17, 2009 - 129 comments

You must be THIS TALL to file a W-2

Economists Matthew Weinzierl (HBS) and Gregory Mankiw (Harvard) make a utilitarian case for a height tax. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on Jun 24, 2009 - 123 comments

Treasury: Income Mobility Substantial. Pew: But Not Enough.

A new U.S. Treasury Report (press release) reports that tax returns from 1996 to 2005 show that income mobility in the U.S. is "considerable," with rising earnings, and top earners who often stumble. The WSJ crows. Pew releases its own research (reports, press release) on income inequality today with a multi-decade outlook, but summarizes the findings as that American families' income mobility is still highly dependent on their parents' position. Forbes and a The New Republic blog try to reconcile the reports. Meanwhile, blacks appear to be downwardly mobile.
posted by shivohum on Nov 13, 2007 - 45 comments

Drug Tax Stamps

Many people want to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana and other drugs, however, few know that many U.S. states are content simply to tax. In fact, even the federal government wants a share (middle of p. 89 of the PDF), and used tax stamps in early prohibition, but only the states have recently issued issued cool stamps (be sure to click "exhibit"). The point, of course, is not to actually tax the drugs, but to penalize the drug dealers for tax evasion as well as drug sales. They have brought in some money, though. A few interesting state government pages: Conecticut, Nebraska, North Carolina and their tax return form, and Kansas.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on Jan 15, 2007 - 30 comments

July 4 might be Independence Day in another way, too

Cost of Government Day - "n. the date of the calendar year, counting from January 1, on which the average American has earned enough in cumulative gross income to pay for his or her share of government spending (total federal, state, and local) plus the cost of regulation."
posted by Gyan on Dec 3, 2006 - 16 comments

Is the U.S. Bankrupt?

Is the U.S. Bankrupt? [332Kb PDF] Laurence Kotlikoff, writing in this month's Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, says "yes" - to the tune of $66 trillion! [more inside]
posted by ikkyu2 on Jul 16, 2006 - 67 comments

A defeat for "death tax" propagandists.

GOP Senators have lost their bid to kill the currently-defunct estate tax. This defeat of the permanent repeal effort is a major triumph for the 98% of Americans who've never been in danger of having to pay the tax.
posted by maud on Jun 8, 2006 - 164 comments

$11.5 Trillion Lost In Bermuda Triangle

$11.5 Trillion Lost In Bermuda Triangle In case you've ever wondered just how much money the mega rich keep nice and tax free in off shore shelters, it's $11.5 trillion.
posted by expriest on May 6, 2005 - 46 comments

Tax Man

Tax Man Bush says tax cuts stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, he's fallen more than 2.2 million jobs short of the projection made by his own economists.
posted by Postroad on Jul 28, 2004 - 6 comments

The Fair Tax

The FairTax is a consumption tax designed to replace the entire federal income tax system, including personal, payroll, corporate, self-employment, capital gains, gift, and inheritance taxes. [more!!]
posted by hama7 on May 1, 2004 - 139 comments

A flood of red ink

A flood of red ink This time the turnaround will be much tougher. There will be no “peace dividend” from the end of the cold war (indeed, the pressure on military spending may continue to increase). America is unlikely to see another stockmarket bubble, with its surge in tax revenues. As baby-boomers retire, the pressure from entitlement spending will be more acute. Set against this background, the path back to a sustainable fiscal policy will be extremely painful, even without any dramatic fiscal crisis. Long after Dubya is back on his ranch, Americans will be trying to recover from the mess he created.
posted by y2karl on Nov 6, 2003 - 35 comments

IRS fraudulent?

Rumors abound about the legality of the IRS, and about people who've managed to avoid paying income taxes based on the lack of legality of the IRS itself. Is any of this real, or simply people trying to make a buck selling a book or two? And if the IRS is fraudulent, what can a citizen without massive fundage do to fight it?
posted by woil on Aug 25, 2003 - 30 comments

marble columns

Over 2000 wealthy tax payers paid no tax in 2000. Meanwhile, states are plunging into budget deficits. Perhaps the tax cuts are meant not to spur the economy, but to defund social programs?
posted by the fire you left me on Jun 27, 2003 - 18 comments

Who Pays? Distributional Analysis of State Tax Systems

Most state tax systems are regressive. That's the thesis of "Who Pays: A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems In All 50 States" published by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The writers argue that states actually augment the effects of the Bush tax plan by replacing income taxes with sales and property taxes, a move that disproportionately hurts the poor and middle classes. Scroll down to the charts to see how your state matches up. (Link is PDF 653 KB, and is summarized at TomPaine.com. Via Talking Points Memo.)
posted by PrinceValium on Feb 13, 2003 - 19 comments

Want to cut taxes? Eliminate libraries.

Want to cut taxes? Eliminate libraries. NY Times story (yeah, yeah, reg required, sorry) talks about a ballot initiative in Stevens County, Washington that may totally eliminate its libraries. (more inside...)
posted by PeteyStock on Aug 20, 2002 - 67 comments

I'm curious,

I'm curious, isn't this exactly opposite of what we're being told? I'm always hearing the wealthy are benefitting somehow from GWB's new tax plan. I'm certainly no-where near the top 5%, and now I don't want to be.
posted by the_0ne on Apr 9, 2002 - 54 comments

"They thought I was some kind of Greek god."

"They thought I was some kind of Greek god." Tim Eyman, the self-styled "maverick" author of several tax-slash initiatives in Washington state, has admitted to not only taking $210,000 from his "grass-roots" campaigns for personal use but consistently lying about it. Now, he says, he wants "his peasants" to decide whether he should give it back. When will people learn what populists usually amount to?
posted by argybarg on Feb 5, 2002 - 24 comments

Did you know about the "African-American Slavery Reparations" tax credit? (Neither did I.)
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jan 24, 2002 - 37 comments

"The sky won't fall,

"The sky won't fall, it will probably just trickle down." On whom? (Guess who.) Out here in Washington State voters just approved another in a series of initiatives that, collectively, choke off the state government's primary funding sources. What else are the results of the initiative process around the country? And are The People responsible enough to be trusted with it?
posted by argybarg on Nov 8, 2001 - 30 comments

Congress on Thursday chose not to extend a 1998 ban on taxes that target the Internet, meaning that, theoretically, state and local governments could begin imposing Internet taxes on Monday.

Congress on Thursday chose not to extend a 1998 ban on taxes that target the Internet, meaning that, theoretically, state and local governments could begin imposing Internet taxes on Monday. Wow, we've been watching over our shoulders for terrorist and congress slips us a fast one!
posted by Sal Amander on Oct 19, 2001 - 5 comments

The tax bill

The tax bill was based on conservative ideology: not only did it offer the largest rate breaks to the richest people, but it had the explicit purpose of reducing the activities of the federal government.
posted by semmi on Aug 29, 2001 - 21 comments

How Corporations Operate Tax Free

How Corporations Operate Tax Free Senator Byron Dorgan on corporations getting away with billions of dollars of taxpayer money. One of the reasons: they negotiate their taxes behind closed doors with the IRS. Wouldn’t you like that access?
posted by capt.crackpipe on Oct 29, 2000 - 17 comments

"Tax Clarity

"Tax Clarity was created to help you decipher what the tax plans by both presidential candidates mean to you personally." Enter some information from your paycheck and find out how much you'd save using either Bush's or Gore's tax plans. via dandot.
posted by phooey on Oct 11, 2000 - 37 comments

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