Forbes online magazine has an interesting story on what it's calling hidden taxes.
The article's premise is that these are government levies that aren't readily recognizable by the average consumer. A nifty slide show of 10 hidden taxes also is part of the package.
Although the article takes more swipes at Uncle Sam than local tax collectors, they come at us from all jurisdictions, state
And while the magazine insists these are hidden taxes, given the growing attention to taxes in recent years
Below is the magazine's list of hidden taxes, along with some brief comments from me. Check out the slide show (you might have to register) for more details on each.
Gasoline tax: The feds and states both get their due when we pull up to the pump. The federal charge is
Cigarette tax: One of the very popular "sin" taxes; alcohol is the other regular, but it didn't make Forbes' list, so no crying in our beers about taxes today. Back to smoking.
In trying to increase funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, Capitol Hill is now considering boosting the federal tobacco tax from
Sugar tax: The magazine notes this is not really a tax per se, but the cash register price pinch we grocery shoppers feel when we buy candy (although some states do levy snack taxes) and processed foods. The argument is that abnormally high store shelf prices are the result of existing federal price supports and import tariffs that benefit the campaign-contributing sugar lobby.
Payroll tax: This isn't really a hidden tax. Every one of us, upon getting our first paycheck, wanted to know who is FICA and why is he getting so much of my money?!
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): Again, a tax that's not so hidden anymore, thanks to the widespread attention it's gotten in recent years as more middle-class taxpayers find themselves paying this parallel, and expensive, levy. Or, as Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson calls it, "the poster child for tax law complexity." More of Nina's AMT thoughts here.
Gambling taxes: Ah yes, Uncle Sam's cousin, Lady Luck. When she graces us with a jackpot at the casino or a trifecta at the track, the IRS expects us to hand over a portion of our winnings.
Social Security tax: Speaking of gambling, let's talk retirement income and taxes. Once you get over the shock of paying payroll taxes, you at least hope to get some of that money back when you eventually retire. But this is where it gets nasty.
If you follow the rules of financial advisers and save so that you can supplement your federal benefits, then part of your Social Security payments
Employer-provided life insurance: The magazine warns that this perk could cause an unexpected tax bite.
Airline tickets: The airport version of sales tax, when you purchase a ducat to travel by air, you shell out a
Personal exemptions: These amounts for yourself and dependents that you enter on your 1040 help reduce your taxable income. But once you make a certain amount
If you've run across any more taxes that caught you off guard, please share. Misery, especially in the form of tax travails, does indeed love company.