Taxes You May Not Know You're Paying

10 often-overlooked tariffs that can have a big impact

One of the benefits of the American Institute of CPAs' Total Tax Insights calculator is that it highlights the many and varied taxes Americans pay -- often without knowing it.

Everyone knows about income, property, Social Security and school taxes, but the AICPA has compiled a list of common but often-overlooked taxes that can take a big chunk out of your paycheck.

Check out these 10 overlooked taxes, and then calculate your total tax burden with the calculator.

Medicare Tax Medicare Tax

Employers withhold this from their employees' paychecks to help cover the cost of running the federal health insurance system for people over 65. For now, at least.

Self-Employment Tax Self-Employment Tax

Being your own boss is great -- but when you work for yourself, you also have to withhold money for Social Security and Medicare from your own paycheck. And you may have to do it quarterly.

Alternative Minimum Tax Alternative Minimum Tax

Originally designed as a trap to make sure that the wealthy didn't deduct, credit and exempt themselves out of having to pay any taxes at all, the AMT now threatens to catch more and more middle-income taxpayers, because the original writers of the legislation neglected to account for inflation.

Electricity or Natural Gas Tax Electricity or Natural Gas Tax

Energy suppliers and utilities collect this based on consumption during a particular billing period -- check your bill.

Cable Tax Cable Tax

That extra line on your bill isn't for some obscure premium channel -- it's a tax imposed on cable TV subscribers.

Landline Phone Tax Landline Phone Tax

We don't know what the federal and state governments do with the money they collect from these taxes on fixed phone lines, but we suspect it has something to do with constantly monitoring every phone call you make.

Cell Phone Tax Cell Phone Tax

And they need to monitor you when you're on your cell, too, which may explain these taxes.

State Gasoline Tax State Gasoline Tax

States add their own little surprise onto the federal excise tax on gasoline, bringing fuel taxes per gallon up to an average of around 49 cents per gallon.

Cigarette Tax Cigarette Tax

One of two primary "sin" taxes, the smoke tax's proponents say that it deters nonsmokers from starting, encourages (or forces) current smokers to stop, and helps government pay for the cost of smoking-related illnesses. Its opponents don't say anything; they're too busy looking for a place where they're still allowed to smoke.

State Alcohol Tax State Alcohol Tax

When Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society," we suspect he had alcohol taxes specifically in mind.



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