Why Are Taxes Legal?

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Taxes are an important part of keeping a society prospering. In the United States there are two levels in which the major taxes are taken out: the state and federal level. Most Americans know these as state and federal income taxes. Although most people who earn money pay these, they may not stop to think about why taxes are legal. Taxes are legal because they are necessary for a modern society like the United States to function. Taxes also try and insure that everyone in the country receives a basic standard of living.  To completely understand why taxes are legal it may be useful to understand exactly what they are used for and the importance/history of taxes in the United States.

Taxes Are Legal Because They Have Proven to Help America throughout History

The idea of taxes can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In the United States taxes have changed and evolved to reflect the needs of the nation and its government. In the early history of the United States taxes were simply tariffs-duty paid on imports or exports, or they were the overall price of an item.

Tariffs then changed to taxes. Taxes in the United States were first introduced in times of war to help fund all the different expenses that come with participating in war. Unlike taxes now- these taxes were set only until the wars were over. Following that period came colonization which saw its own set of taxes and struggles between government and citizens.

It wasn’t until after the Civil War that taxes become a huge part of being an American. In 1913 the sixteenth Amendment was added to the constitution- giving congress the legality to collect taxes on its citizen’s income. So a huge reason why taxes are legal is because-after years of trial and error- they became and still are a constitutional right for the government.

Taxes Are Legal Because They Help With A Variety of Aspects of Society

State, Federal, and even sales taxes go to help with tangible and intangible aspects of a society. Here are a few of the things that taxes pay for in the United States:

·         Health Care Expenses

When it comes to the allocating of taxes, healthcare takes the largest spot.  Government funded healthcare consist of three major programs; Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). All three of these programs give those with low income access to healthcare- a cost many could not afford otherwise. As healthcare costs steadily rise in the United States and wages stay capped, more and more Americans are needing the assistance of these programs to seek medical help.

·         Social Security

Social Security is also another large chunk of where taxes are collected and spent. Social Security provides those who are retired, disabled workers, and their dependents with living wages. For many Americans this may be their primary source of income if they are retired or injured.

·         Defense and Security Expenses

These help protect the residents and military personnel in the United States. They also provide funding for any military operations.

·         Government Assistance/Benefit Programs

These are program like unemployment, food stamps, temporary assistance, housing assistance, and welfare programs. They become especially helpful during an economic crisis. For veterans there are also benefits and assistance that are available.

·         Education

Public education in America for grades K-12, gets its funding from taxes, a lot of it actually comes from property tax (which is another controversial topic by itself). Taxes help school districts pay for things like operating, student services, paying teachers, and for the school’s administration.

·         Transportation

Taxes pay for road construction and maintenance, making transportation safer and easier for all Americans who use the road.

·         Food and Drug Safety

Also known as the FDA, this government funded organization takes important steps and procedures to handle the safety of food and drugs that Americans consume. They do everything from recalling products to setting standards of safety.

Who legally is allowed to Not Pay Taxes?

There are some Americans who legally do not have to pay taxes (most of the time this is just for federal taxes). They can be broken down into a few major groups:

  • Low Income Households
  • Those Who Get a Negative Income Tax
  • People Impacted By Tax Bill Cuts
  • The Elderly/Retired
  • Those Who Pay Payroll Taxes

Many Americans who pay taxes may be wondering why they are legal. A fair question to ask especially if a person pays taxes themselves. A major reason why taxes are legal is because of the sixteenth amendment of the constitution- which states that the government has the right to collect income tax. As a taxpayer a person may be curious about where their tax money is allocated. Taxes can be used for a variety of reasons- from healthcare to transportation. Taxes are an important part of building and maintaining the basic needs of American society. Although most people pay taxes there are a few groups of people who do not pay taxes – this may change on an annual basis.

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