So, I’m stuck in a traffic jam…

Traffic jamNothing is moving. Suddenly, a man knocks on my window. I roll down the window and ask, “What’s going on?”

He says “Terrorists have kidnapped Congress, and are asking for a $10 million dollar ransom. Otherwise, they are going to douse them all in gasoline and set them on fire. We are going from car to car, taking up a collection.”

“How much is everyone giving, on average?” I ask.

The man replies, “About a gallon.”

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Why is Tax Day April 18th, instead of the 15th?

Tax formsTraditionally, Tax Day in the United States falls on April 15 unless that day happens to be on a Saturday, Sunday or federal holiday. In 2011, April 15 meets none of those criteria — it falls on a Friday, and there’s no federal holiday that day.

So what’s the deal? In 2011, Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day on April 15, a day earlier than normal, since April 16 falls on a Saturday. Emancipation Day marks the anniversary of the day that President Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act. The Act, which was “for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia,” freed 3,100 slaves in the District, making DC residents the “first freed” by the federal government. In 2005, Emancipation Day was made an official public holiday in the District of Columbia.

In observance of the DC holiday, Tax Day will be moved forward one business day, this year landing it on Monday, April 18. That’s the date your form has to be either submitted electronically or postmarked by for your tax return to be considered timely filed by the IRS.

IRS Fun Facts

1. President Abraham Lincoln created the IRS during the Civil War to help pay for the military expenses.

2. The initial income tax was a mere 3% tax on individuals making over $800. Nowadays the top tax bracket consists of a 35% tax.

3. When it was first created, the IRS was known as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the name was changed to the Internal Revenue Service.

4. Over 229 million income tax returns were filed with the IRS in 2006.

5. In 2006, the IRS collected over $2.2 trillion, with $1.2 trillion coming from just income taxes.

6. Prior to the introduction of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in 1998, the burden of proof was put entirely on taxpayers, meaning taxpayers had to prove themselves innocent.

7. The IRS sends out an average 8 billion page of paper every tax season. If all the pieces of paper were laid out end-to-end, it would wrap around the earth 28 times.

8. In order for the IRS to print the necessary forms and documents on paper over 300,000 trees must be cut down every year.

9. The federal government spends $200 billion per year on federal tax compliance, which is more money than it takes to produce every vehicle in the United States.

10. The IRS employs over 114,000 individuals, which is over double as many as the CIA and five times more than the FBI.

11. The United States tax systems is widely known for being confusing and difficult to understand. As such over 60% of seek professional help preparing their tax returns.

12. The average family pays over 38% of their total income to the IRS, which is more than the average family spends on food, clothing, and shelter combined.

13. The federal government spends about $10 billion per year to pay the IRS’s 114,000 employees.

14. The IRS has a whistleblowers program designed to help catch tax evaders. In 2005 they paid over $27 million to informants which resulted in nearly $350 million in revenue.

15. Tax Day, the date when tax returns must be filed with the IRS typically falls on April 15th. However, if the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, Tax Day is moved to the next business day.

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