What the US Government does with information collected from individual tax returns

One of the most overlooked elements of the income tax is the wealth of information and statistics the government is able to compile. The income tax affects most major decisions in the life an American citizen and the information on income tax returns can tell us a lot about the ways Americans earn and spend their money. On May 23rd, the IRS published their spring “Statistics of Income” (SOI) report, which gave us our first preliminary statistics of the 2014 tax year.

The news about 2014 was mostly good as the IRS saw increases in the number of tax returns filed (from 147.7 million returns to 148.7 million), adjusted gross income increased by 6.1-percent, and income tax liabilities rose by a whopping 10-percent. Those are the headline numbers but some of the details were likewise encouraging. For example, unemployment compensation claimed as income decreased by almost 20-percent. Additionally, capital gains were up (11-percent) and capital loss were down (16-percent). Finally, of interest to those following the Affordable Care debates in Washington, roughly 8 million taxpayers had an individual responsibility payment (the penalty for not having qualifying health insurance) totaling roughly $1.7 billion in 2014.

Consult a tax advisor to make sure your statistics are correct.

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