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Americans Don't Seem to Know Much About Taxes They Pay

This year's deadline is Tuesday, April 18
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2017 9:47 AM CDT
Americans Don't Seem to Know Much About Taxes They Pay
The deadline for tax-filing procrastinators is Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

The deadline to file federal taxes this year is Tuesday, April 18, and procrastinators have Abraham Lincoln to thank for the extra time, explains MarketWatch. Tax Day is normally April 15, but not so this year because it fell on a weekend. Typically, that would mean it gets pushed to the following Monday, but because Washington, DC, observes Emancipation Day on Monday—the day Lincoln freed the slaves in the capital, which is actually April 16, but that, too, fell on a weekend—Tuesday it is. A look at coverage:

  • Consider this stat: 57% of Americans think they pay too much in federal income taxes, but 45% of Americans actually pay no federal income taxes at all. How to explain the anomaly? Americans are seriously ignorant about taxes, writes Tulane prof Marjorie Kornhauser in the Washington Post. Progressive vs. flat? Marginal rates vs. effective rates? She's got some suggestions to remedy this, including teaching tax literacy in schools.

  • Think you are among the tax literate? Prove it with a quiz from NPR. Sample question: The highest earners pay a significantly higher share of federal income taxes than they did in 1980. True or false?
  • Which state sends the most tax dollars per person to the federal government? Delaware is tops at $16,000. However, Washington, DC, trumps all the states by a mile at $37,000, reports the AP. See where your state ranks here.
  • As many people remember in the spring, filing taxes can be an "absurdly complex" process, writes TR Reid in the New York Times. He makes the case that it doesn't need to be this way, starting with the IRS pre-filling in our forms with the numbers it already knows.
  • Tax Day may be behind the markets' recent struggles, explains a post at CNBC.
  • A post at Scientific American floats the idea of moving Tax Day up a month to March 15. The idea is that, counter-intuitively, the shorter deadline will reduce the number of late filers.
  • With Tax Day comes freebies at various businesses on Tuesday. ABC15 rounds them up, including a deal on Quarter Pounders at McDonald's.
(More taxes stories.)

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