Tax Carnival Ecstasy – October 23, 2012

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Welcome to the October 23, 2012 edition of Tax Carnival Ecstasy. In this edition we start with Anisha from the NerdWallet who takes a look at oil companies and the taxes they pay. Bill Smith reviews H&R Block‘s small business tax software. Anna Deguzman looks over the Fiscal Cliff and how the two presidential candidates will handle the crisis. Finally we have four easy ways to save money on your taxes that you can implement before the year ends. Hope you get a chance to read all the posts here, bookmark for later, share on the social networks like Twitter and Facebook and follow the carnival in the future.

tax law

Bill Smith presents File Your Taxes posted at 2010Taxes, saying, “When it comes to online tax filing security is the major issue. Many people may like the concept or many might look down, most of them may feel worried about putting their information all on the internet and doubt that is it actually safe and secure to submit your tax return this way.”

taxes

Bill Smith presents Gay Marriage Increases Federal Tax Headaches posted at 2008 Taxes, saying, “The advent of a new era in our nation’s history brings with it more than gay marriage acceptance; we are witnessing the dawn of a new era of federal tax headaches.”

Bill Smith
presents 2010 Tax Credits For Your Home posted at 2010 Tax, saying, “For those of you thinking of buying a new home but are not sure about the 2010 tax credits, maybe this will help you.”

[email protected]
presents Should oil companies pay higher taxes? Prof. Ho explains the economics of optimal taxation posted at NerdWallet, saying, “Should oil companies pay higher taxes? Prof. Ho teaches the economics of optimal taxes for the purpose of reducing the federal deficit.”

Bill Smith presents Tips to Get TurboTax Discounts posted at 2009 Tax, saying, “Turbotax software comes in various different versions like Premier, Deluxe, etc. Turbo tax software is used to prepare both State & Federal Income Tax Returns.”

Bill Smith
presents How to get online tax refunds with H&R Block? posted at 2008 Taxes, saying, “Nowadays there are many tax filing programs available online, but even today most of the people think twice while filing their income tax returns using these online programs.”

Bill Smith
presents H&R Block- Small Business Tax Software Review posted at 2009 Taxes, saying, “H&R Block is one of the best tax preparation software used worldwide. Today more than 500 million clients mainly in Australia, the U.S., and Canada use H&R block.”

[email protected] Obama vs. Romney vs. The Fiscal Cliff posted at NerdWallet Blog – Credit Card Watch, saying, “What change will the impending “fiscal cliff” bring? The nerds weigh in on the issue and the roles the presidential candidates could play.”

tips

Bill Smith presents FreeTaxUSA- Prepare your Taxes Yourself posted at 2011 Taxes, saying, “There are several tax preparation programs available online. Let’s begin with a very simple and a detailed review.”

John Schmoll presents 4 Simple Ways to Save Money on Taxes Before Year End posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “Tax season is quickly approaching us. Don’t fall behind and wait til the last minute to prepare for it. There are numerous things you can do now to help save you money and give less to Uncle Sam.”
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tax carnival ecstasy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Taxing the Sin of Luxury

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The luxury tax and it’s close relative the sin tax are concepts that are up for debate. Depending on which economist you speak to you will get a wide range of opinions on whether this type of tax is helpful or hurtful to the economy. The luxury tax pretty much affects only the wealthy (i.e. those who can afford to buy luxury items) and consist of a tax that is applied to goods that are deemed unnecessary or nonessential. The sin tax applies to things can be seen as extreme, sinful and unnecessary to the individual and to society, like cigarettes and alcohol. Another example of the sin tax is the increased rate at which lottery and game-show winnings are taxed.

The luxury tax was originally imposed during times of war as a way to increase government revenue and to have wealthy families pay more, since theoretically they could afford it. But in reality is it helpful or harmful?

One way of looking at it is to take the concept of Veblen goods. These are items that go up in popularity as their price increases. The reasoning behind this is that it increases the items ‘snob appeal’ and gives the purchaser greater status. Examples of items that could be a Veblen product are fancy cars, expensive wines, designer-handbags, decadent jewelry, furs and yachts. When the price of these items go down then certain people don’t want to buy them as much. These goods are often sought out to increase social status, as a way to show-off to peers and to give the owner a feeling of satisfaction. It all comes down to exclusivity, aka the ‘Snob Effect’.

Those against it argue that adding a luxury tax to an item may curb demand, which will then end up hurting the middle class, i.e. the workers, as their products won’t be sold. If buyers seek other items, when this happens the middle class lose there income and this leads to increased unemployment benefits, so the government actually loses money. For example when a 10% federal surcharge was enacted on luxury goods in the US in 1991, sales of the effected products decreased drastically. Since it led to such a negative effect on the economy through job loss and tax revenues from lost sales it was quickly dropped.

This also happened is Canada in the late 1980s, when a large luxury tax was added to cigarettes. Instead of seeing tax revenue increase, there was actually a decrease as people stopped buying them legally and cigarettes started appearing on an oftentimes violent black market. This led to more government resources being used to fight this crime, and so the tax was soon repealed.

On the other side, the consumers that can afford non-necessities are usually rich and lead extravagant lifestyles. In 2007, luxury goods in the US were a $157 billion dollar industry. Between 1979-2003, income grew 49% for the top 5% of earners and 111% for the top 1%, and it has been shown that even in a slow economy there will always be a luxury market. This is an enormous tax base that could bring much needed revenue to the government.

 

Sarah Parker is a writer and blogger from Greensboro, NC. She enjoys all things outdoors, especially camping, gardening, and swimming. Her favorite time of the year is summer (of course!) and she aims to leave as tiny of a carbon-footprint as possible throughout her daily life.