ACC 548: An Introduction to Tax


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Chapter 01 An Introduction to Tax

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Learning Objectives Demonstrate how taxes influence basic business, investment, personal, and political decisions Discuss what constitutes a tax and the general objectives of taxes Describe the different tax rate structures and calculate a tax Identify the various federal, state and local taxes Apply appropriate criteria to evaluate alternate tax systems

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Who cares about taxes? Businesses: What organizational form should a business use? Where should the business locate? How should business acquisitions be structured? How should the business compensate employees? What is the appropriate mix of debt and equity for the business? Should the business rent or own its equipment and property? How should the business distribute profits to its owners?

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Who cares about taxes? Politicians: Politicians often distinguish themselves from their opponents based on their tax rhetoric. Voters must have basic knowledge of taxes to evaluate the merits of alternative tax proposals.

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Who cares about taxes? Individuals: Would you like to own a home? Tax deductions for home mortgage interest and real estate taxes can reduce the after-tax costs of owning a home. Would you like to retire? Understanding the tax-advantaged methods of saving for retirement can increase the after-tax value of your retirement nest egg.

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What qualifies as a Tax? A Tax is a payment required by a government agency that is unrelated to any specific benefit or service received from the government agency. Key components of a tax: Payment required Payment imposed by government agency (federal, state, local) Payment not tied directly to benefit received by the taxpayer.

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Tax Question? Which of the following constitute a tax? Payment for drivers license? (Not a tax) Payment for required (by government) house appraisal? (Not a tax) Payment for hotel use of 1% of bill to pay for city projects. (A tax) Payment for rental car use of 3% of bill to pay for the roads. (A tax)

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How to calculate a Tax? To calculate a tax, a taxpayer must know: Tax Rate: level of taxes imposed on the tax base and is usually expressed as a percentage Tax Base: defines what is actually taxed and is usually expressed in monetary terms Tax = Tax Base * Tax Rate

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Different ways to measure tax rates Marginal Tax Rate: the tax rate that applies to the next additional increment of a taxpayer’s taxable income. Average Tax Rate: the taxpayer’s average level of taxation on each dollar of taxable income. Effective Tax Rate: the taxpayer’s average rate of taxation on each dollar of total income (both taxable and non-taxable)

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Tax Rates Example Bill and Mercedes have $140,000 of taxable income and additional $10,000 of nontaxable income. Using the 2011 married-joint tax rates, what is their average tax rate and effective tax rate? If they receive an additional $80,000 of taxable income, what is their marginal tax rate on this income?

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Tax Rates Solution Tax Due = 27,269.50, computed as: $27,269.50 = $27,087.50 + 28% x ($140,000 - $139,340) Average tax rate: 19.48% (27,269.50/140,000) Effective tax rate: 18.18% (27,269.50/150,000) Marginal tax rate: 28.48% ($50,054.50 - $27,269.50)/ ($220,000 - $140,000)

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Tax Rate Structures Proportional Tax Rate (Flat Tax): imposes a constant tax rate throughout the tax base. Progressive Tax Rate: imposes an increasing marginal tax rate as the tax base increases. Regressive Tax Rate: imposes a decreasing marginal tax rate as the tax base increases.

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Tax Rate Structure Question How would a chart look which is mapping out the three different tax structures?

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Tax Rate Structures Example

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Types of Taxes Federal Taxes: Income taxes Employment and unemployment taxes Excise taxes Transfer taxes State and local taxes: Sales and use taxes Property taxes Income taxes Excise taxes Implicit taxes

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Federal Taxes Income taxes Represents approximately 51.6% of all tax revenues collected in the United States Levied on individuals, corporations, estates, and trusts Employment and Unemployment taxes Second largest group of taxes imposed by the U.S. government Employment taxes include the OASDI (Social Security tax), and the MHI tax (Medicare tax) Unemployment taxes fund temporary unemployment benefits for individuals terminated from their jobs without cause

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Federal Taxes Excise taxes Third largest group of taxes imposed by the U.S. government levied on the quantity of products sold Estate and Gift taxes levied on the fair market values of wealth transfers upon death or by gift

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State and Local Taxes Sales and Use taxes Tax base for a sales tax is the retail sales of goods and some services Tax base for the use tax is the retail price of goods owned, possessed or consumed within a state that were not purchased within the state Property taxes Property taxes are ad valorem taxes, meaning that the tax base for each is the fair market value of the property Real property taxes consists of taxes on land and structures permanently attached to land Personal property taxes includes taxes on all other types of property, both tangible and intangible

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State and Local Taxes Income taxes Most state taxable income calculations largely conform to the federal taxable income calculations, with a limited number of modifications Excise taxes States typically impose excise taxes on items subject to federal excise tax

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Implicit Taxes Indirect taxes that result from a tax advantage the government grants to certain transactions. Defined as the reduced before-tax return that a tax-favored asset produces because of its tax advantaged status Difficult to quantify but important to understand in evaluating the relative tax burdens of tax-advantaged investments Income taxes

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How to evaluate different tax systems? Sufficiency: involves assessing the aggregate size of the tax revenues that must be generated and making sure that the tax system provides these revenues. Equity: how the tax burden should be distributed across taxpayers. Certainty: means that taxpayers should be able to determine when to pay the tax, where to pay the tax, and how to determine the tax. Convenience: tax system should be designed to be collected without undue hardship to the taxpayer. Economy: should minimize the compliance and administration costs associated with the tax system.

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Equity In general terms, a tax system is considered fair or equitable if the tax is based on the taxpayer’s ability to pay. Horizontal Equity: two taxpayers in similar situations pay the same tax. Vertical Equity: taxpayers with greater ability to pay tax, pay more tax relative to taxpayers with a lesser ability to pay tax.

Summary: Chapter 1 Ed Foth Last updated: 3/1/12

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