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Rendering Unto Caesar

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Despite the delight I’m lately experiencing riling up the Obama supporters, the real world demands that I attend to calculating my portion of the Terror War Against Terror & Wall Street Bank Bailout Fund. I’m doing my tax return.

I’m not about to reveal what I make, but according to US Census Bureau figures, roughly 26% of Americans with income made more than I did last year. This does, of course, mean that roughly 73% made less. Not bad for a unionized hourly employee who doubles as a partner in a dying business that once did very well for itself. Just sayin’

So upon my lofty income perch, one might think that my taxation burden would be somewhat onerous. After all, people complain loudly about how much they have to pay to the Federal government, and to the State, and maybe even to some local administration in some form. But as this is the time of year for income tax, I’ll reserve my comments for that category. Maybe if someone asks nice in the comments, I’ll put it all together into the larger context of total taxes paid for another post.

But I digress. After completing my 1040 and attachments, I did a couple of calculations: The percentage of my income withheld, both gross and Adjusted Gross Income, and the percentage of my income owed as tax, both gross and AGI.

May I have the envelope, please! Drumroll, Maestro!

——–Withheld…Owed as tax

Many factors affect the withholding numbers, and in my case I am claiming zero on my W4. This is to ensure that I have enough paid in to cover my financial liabilities despite my medical travails last year. But due to the fact that I have a paid-off tumble-down bungalow, I don’t have many write-offs. I ended up again taking the standard deduction, and having two dependents in college right now did help some (one of the few things I believe Obama did right!).

But withholding is what makes people shout to the high heavens for tax relief. They never get around to figuring out what they really paid in taxes as I have (I asked a small sampling of my coworkers. Not one knew the percentage of their tax paid versus their income, either gross or AGI). As you can see from my figures, I’m not being hurt too badly. Had one of the flat tax proposals from about twenty years ago passed, I’d be paying more than I am now. As I recall, one of the proposals had me paying 17% of my gross! SCAM!

Sure, there are also FICA and SSI and state and local sales and property and auto …and…and… I’ll maybe get to summing all of those someday. But if one thinks about all the things that the Federal government does for me and my family, paid out of my income tax, I’d call that a bargain — the best I ever had.

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About pessimist

  • Realist, I don’t see how your figures can possible be correct, but maybe those two college tax credits make more difference at your income level than they do at mine. I don’t think that even when I was at a substantially lower income level I paid less than about 18% of AGI.

  • Then either you need a better tax accountant, or dependents. If I were single, I’d be paying much more.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Realist –

    Thank you!

  • Apparently you also want to rile up Pete Townsend fans. You should have credited him for the last sentence in the article.