The taxman cometh...in 2009

Consumers are struggling to make ends meet as our economy falters. And what is the answer to that from politicians? Let's raise taxes. We're being led to believe that our governments need more of our money. The truth is that families are the ones who need to keep more of their hard-earned money.

Be on the lookout for many different taxes and fees to increase for consumers. And generally, government entities have no shame over raising the taxes. They act as if it's a necessary evil.

Some of the changes are likely to include: higher personal income rates, "surcharges" added to personal income taxes, higher sales tax rates, fees and taxes on certain things like tobacco, soft drinks, and snack foods, sales taxes on services that were previously untaxed, taxes on luxury goods like jewelry, furs, yachts, and private jets, and additional income taxes on the "wealthy."

So why aren't governments talking more about cutting their spending to match up with whatever taxes they think they'll collect? Apparently that would be too hard. It's just easier to force consumers to pay more, especially if an item or behavior can be demonized. Something bad (like tobacco) or enviable (like wealth) is much easier to tax because fewer consumers will object.

And taxing, instead of cutting spending, seems to be the way to go because consumers don't do enough to stop the taxing. In theory consumers have a say over taxes when they vote for politicians. In reality, it's a whole lot harder and we're at the mercy of whatever new or higher taxes the politicians think we need to pay.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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