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.
So, you decided to become your own boss (at least part-time) and start driving for a ride-sharing company like Lyft. Use the Lyft tax preparation checklist below to organize your income and deductions to make filing your taxes a breeze. Remember, not all items listed will apply to you, but it will give you a good idea on what you need to report as income and what you can claim as a deduction.
Originally created to make sure the wealthy paid taxes even after using tax breaks and loopholes, the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) has never been updated and continues to impact middle class Americans more and more each year as a result of inflation. To compensate for inflation, the AMT now includes an exemption amount. This exemption is indexed for inflation so it changes every year.
Taxpayers who upgrade their homes to make use of renewable energy may be eligible for a tax credit to offset some of the costs. As of the 2018 tax year, the federal government offers the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit. The credits are good through 2019 and then are reduced each year through the end of 2021. Claim the credits by filing Form 5695 with your tax return.
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.