Which State Pays Most In Gas Taxes?

Former GM exec Bob Lutz acknowledged that Americans wouldn’t embrace an increase to the federal gas tax – and he was right. There was a lot of reaction to my piece yesterday on Lutz’ recommendation that the federal gas tax be raised in 25 cent increments until gas prices reached $6 or $7 per gallon at the pump. As I read through the comments, however, I was struck by the divisive nature of the debate. Clearly, as outlined in your comments, how you feel about the issue is influenced by a number of factors including how much you drive and …

Comparing Lists: Did Residents Flee States Because Of Taxes?

We’re #1! We’re #1! Oh, New Jersey]. I got a kick out of seeing many of my friends in social media posting about New Jersey’s most recent “honor”: Forbes recently reported that the state was tops in terms of exits. No, not those kind of exits that Springsteen and Bon Jovi refer to… But exits from the state. For good. Forbes pulled its data from a study by moving company United Van Lines, which analyzed customer moves across the 48 continental states in 2012. Trends indicated, in particular, that folks tend to be moving away from the northeast and towards …

Romney’s ‘Number’ Is 13.9: What’s Yours?

What’s your number? You know, your tax rate for federal income tax purposes? I know, you’re thinking 20%, 30%, maybe even 35%. Far higher than Mitt Romney, right? You probably pay much less than you think. Most people think of their marginal tax rates when you ask them what they pay in tax. A marginal tax rate is the rate that you pay on the last dollar of income (in other words, the highest rate of tax that you pay). Our system is a progressive income tax system. That means we all pay the same rate at the bottom and …

Gingrich, Perry Float ‘Simple’ Tax Proposals

In recent days, both front-runner Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry have touted their respective “optional flat tax” plans as an easy solution to a complicated tax system. Under both plans, taxpayers would have the option of filing under the existing Tax Code or filing with a flat tax rate (Perry has suggested 20% with Gingrich floating a 15% rate). A reader kindly forwarded me a link to Gingrich’s plan with a note that “this seems like a good compromise for tax reform.” I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. It’s not tax reform. It’s ignoring tax reform altogether. …

Supreme Court Asked to Answer What’s ‘Fair’ When it Comes to Taxpayers

The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case of Armour, et al., v. Indianapolis, et al (docket 11-161). That’s a lawyerly way of saying that the Supreme Court will hear the matter. Some cases have what’s called “original jurisdiction” in the Supreme Court but most do not. To be heard at the Supreme Court level without having original jurisdiction requires the losing party at the appellate level to file a petition seeking a review of the case. If the Supreme Court grants the petition and decides to hear the matter, it’s called a writ of certiorari. And that’s what …

Who Should Pay Taxes?

On Friday, I posted that the Tax Foundation reported that, in 2008, nearly one in three taxpayers paid no taxes or received every dollar back which was withheld. It’s the highest percentage of nonpayers ever. Think about that for a second. It’s pretty scary. For 2008, those numbers mean that there were about 51.6 million filers who had no income tax obligation at all. For the sake of comparison, that same year, the Census estimated that there were 112,362,848 households in the US. There are a mish-mosh of reasons that have gotten us to this point but chief among them: …

It’s a taxgirl Podcast!

Okay, not really a taxgirl.com podcast… But I was interviewed for the Tax Foundation’s tax policy podcast on Monday. It was a lot fun, despite my battling through a nasty head cold. You can listen to the podcast here. Thanks to Natasha for having me on! I may appear again to talk tax advice. I’ll keep you posted.

Fix the Tax Code Friday: Bailing Out the Government

It’s Fix the Tax Code Friday! Remember that study that I cited from the Tax Foundation earlier in the week? That same report offered another statistic. In 2007, the cost of balancing the budget would have cost each taxpayer an additional $1,789 in taxes. This year, due to “the bailouts and the Troubled Asset Relief program under the Bush administration, as well as the stimulus and fiscal year 2009 omnibus spending bills under the Obama administration”, that number has skyrocketed to $8,798. Yep, $8,798 extra to balance the budget. Is it worth it? Today’s Fix the Tax Code Friday question …

Happy Tax Freedom Day!

Happy Tax Freedom Day! And if you’re thinking it feels early this year, you’re right… In 2009, Tax Freedom Day in the US arrives on April 13, the earliest it’s appeared since 1967, according to the Tax Foundation. That’s more than a week earlier than last year and two weeks earlier than in 2007. Tax Freedom Day marks the day that taxpayers have earned enough money to pay their taxes for the year. The idea was conceived in 1948 by Florida businessman Dallas Hostetler. Hostetler eventually transferred the trademarked day to the Tax Foundation, which has calculated Tax Freedom Day …