As the presidential race heats up, one of the most contentious issues continues to be the economy. Whether the subject is the tax code, health care reform or unemployment, it's clear that November's battle will feature two very different visions of America -- and two very different ideas of how to cure the country's economic malaise. With that in mind, we've decided to look at some of America's biggest economic surprises.
Think you know the economy? Take our quiz and find out!
Quiz: The Economy and the Tax Gap in the United States
Pop Quiz! Who's Winning the Tax Game (and By How Much)?
Answer: C. Thanks in large part to the exceedingly generous 15% capital gains and dividend taxes, most of the super-rich pay a lower tax rate than middle-class filers making $69,001 per year.
C. $5.12 million
D. $10 million
Answer: C. In 2001, the estate tax exemption topped out at $675,000, and the top rate was 55%. Today, the exemption is $5.12 million, and the top rate is 35%. Side note: $5.12 million represents the average yearly earnings of over 103 households – none of whom would get a 100% exemption on their taxes.
Selling your kid's old bicycle is not likely to cause any tax consequences, but when you sell crafts, vintage or specialty items on websites like Etsy, you must report and pay taxes on your net income. You will also likely need to pay self-employment tax on your profits, and in some locations, you may also be responsible for charging and collecting sales tax.
If you use vehicles in your small business, how and when you deduct for the business use of those vehicles can have significant tax implications. It pays to learn the nuances of mileage deductions, buying versus leasing and depreciation of vehicles. Special rules for business vehicles can deliver healthy tax savings.
Congress has passed the largest piece of tax reform legislation in more than three decades. The bill will affect the taxes of most taxpayers, but one key point to keep in mind is that for most people, the bill won't affect your taxes for 2017 (the one you file in 2018).
Every April, many taxpayers wait until the last minute to file their federal income tax returns. Despite this tendency, there are many reasons to file your taxes early. If you will receive a refund, you may want to submit your return as quickly as possible. Additionally, there are benefits to filing early for those taxpayers who have a balance due.