The federal government collects many taxes from Americans. The largest sources are individual income taxes, which are responsible for nearly half of all federal revenue. Other forms of federal taxation include corporate income taxes, excise taxes on alcohol and the estate and gift tax. Most federal taxes are progressive, while corporate income taxes are proportional. In 2013, total federal revenues were $2.8 trillion. In 2014, nearly three-quarters of households paid more in payroll taxes than in personal income taxes.
Individual income taxes make up the largest portion of federal government revenue, followed by corporate income taxes and social insurance and retirement receipts. Nevertheless, despite their large contribution to the federal government’s budget, individual income taxes account for less than half of its total tax revenue. Thus, it is essential to consider the impact that a federal income taxation policy can have on the economy as a whole. By looking at the various ways that federal income taxes are collected, one can determine if they are truly necessary and how they can be changed.
In 2013, the federal government collected about $900 billion in income tax revenues. That amounted to 5.6 percent of GDP. By 2023, that number is projected to rise to $12 trillion, representing 5.3 percent of GDP. These tax revenues would still fall short of funding the government’s programs, however, if these spending policies aren’t reversed. But the good news is that, despite the cuts, there is hope that revenues will increase again.
Unlike entitlement programs, tax expenditures are not subject to periodic reauthorization. They also have no annual appropriations, making them more opaque. The child and earned income tax credits, however, are examples of tax expenditures. Whether a particular tax policy is beneficial for the economy depends on the type of income. During a strong economy, incomes increase and taxes increase. But when the economy is weak, incomes fall and government tax revenue declines.
When it comes to personal income taxes, the federal government taxes people differently. There are direct taxes paid by individuals, such as sales taxes, as well as indirect taxes paid by businesses. Another tax that an individual pays is the Social Security tax, which is 6.2% of the income of an employee. However, the social security tax, which is proportional, is paid by an individual who owns a corporation. Unlike an individual who works for someone else, self-employment tax is a different type of federal tax.
Social Security tax receipts have been fairly stable in recent decades, with increases in the number of people paying it and the proportion of their wages subject to taxes. However, legislation has had little impact on these taxes over the past two decades, because they are based on wages and salaries. They have remained relatively stable compared to other sources of income, which has increased. But there is one big problem: Social security tax revenues are insufficient to meet the demands of the elderly. The federal government must increase the FICA tax to make up for this shortfall.