How Much Were You Taxed?

by lphawaii


Sometimes I ask people, “How much did you pay in taxes last year?”

Usually they say, “Oh, I didn’t pay anything.  I got money.  Didn’t you?”

What they’re talking about is the refund.  But that’s just the money that you overpay, and the government kicks it back to you.  I’m not talking about that.  I’m talking about – how much were you taxed?

Last year, I paid more than $11,000 in taxes.  That’s more than 25% of my income.  And that’s just the income tax.  That doesn’t include all the sales, property, or gas taxes.  Lots of people forget just how much we’re taxed.

Most people see tax season as a happy time.  Yay!  It’s tax season!  Now I can get my refund!  Sometimes the refund is $1,000 or more.  Isn’t it great to get that check in the mail?  It feels like the government is so generous.  They’re just giving away free money!

But of course, it’s the other way around.

Sometimes I think about what I would do with an extra $11,000.  The first thing I would do is buy a plane ticket to the Philippines, to see my relatives.  I haven’t seen them in almost ten years, and it would be nice to visit again.  It’s important to see people you love.

I would also buy a plane ticket to see my girlfriend on Oahu.  We’ve been talking on the phone for so long, but we hardly ever get to see each other.

I’d completely wipe out my debt.  I’ve been chipping away at this debt for two years now.  It’s like trying to drill down a boulder with a toothbrush.

It would also be nice to buy a new toaster.  One that worked on both sides, so I wouldn’t have to flip the bread half-way through.  It would be nice to buy a lot of little things.

But the final thing I would do is give the money to someone in need.  I’ve always wanted to live my life in a way where I could live cheaply and save.  Then, if I ever heard someone who couldn’t pay a medical bill, or got in some accidental financial trouble, I could just slam down a bunch of money to help them.

Sometimes I wonder why people talk in terms of lowering taxes.  It would be better to say, “Let’s give everyone a raise!”

If taxes were lowered on all Americans, we would essentially be giving everyone a raise.  Let’s say we got rid of the income tax, then everyone would have at least 25% more in their take home pay.  I have a feeling that it could boost the economy.

If I could have all of that money back, I could do a lot of good in the world.  Sometimes I wonder what that money is doing today?  Is it helping someone in need?  Or is it bombing an innocent civilian?  Perhaps it’s creating a road somewhere.  Or maybe helping a politician.

Whatever it’s doing, I can only hope that it’s being used for good instead of bad.  Now that taxes are raising, all we can do is hope.