Coined by an unknown author, "Born free, taxed to death" is a saying many of us have heard, but we could add "taxed after death" as well - at least our families might be. Americans have incurred so many taxes over the last 100 years, even the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) has a difficult time listing them all. Because of these taxes, it is now taking longer and longer for Americans to begin working just for themselves.

In 1900, the official Tax Freedom Day (the day individual citizens have worked long enough to pay their share of the taxes) was January 22. Tax Freedom Day in 1930 was February 12, and that date in 2011, was April 12. (For more on taxes, check out The History Of Taxes In The U.S.)

New taxes have been added recently that are based on new technology, attempt to protect the environment and pay for tighter security in an insecure world, and there are a few that have been imposed just to raise revenue. Here are five taxes that didn't exist just 40 years ago.

Airline and Airport Taxes
It almost takes the expertise of an accountant to read through all the added fees and taxes on an airline ticket. A sales tax has always been added to the purchase price of a ticket, but according to the U.S. Department of State, that price now includes a lengthy list of "other" taxes. It's difficult to find the actual ticket price. Environmental concerns and the events of September 11 ushered in an entirely new spreadsheet full of fees and taxes.

According to the NAtional Business Aviation Association here's a list of just a few of the new taxes:

  • 9/11 security fee (tax) $2.50 per "enplanement"
  • Ticket excise tax - 7.5% on domestic flights
  • Flight segment tax - $3.80 within the U.S.
  • Hawaii/Alaska Flight tax - $8.40 per flight / U.S.

International flight fees (taxes):

  • Departure and arrival taxes - $16.10
  • Agricultural inspection fee(tax) - $5.00 on arrival
  • Customs user fee(tax) - $5.50 on arrival
  • Immigration user fee (tax)- $7.00 on arrival

In addition, nearly every airport in the U.S. adds a "Passenger Facility Tax" of up to $4.50.

Illegal Drug Tax
At first glance, this seems to be one of the most absurd line items the IRS could include on the 1040 Form. It is, however a line item that has worked to put criminals behind bars.

Enacted as part of the re-vamped Tax Code of 1986's Money Laundering Act, this item has helped the IRS target otherwise untouchable drug dealers, and organized crime figures. Even criminals have to file taxes and if their lifestyle doesn't match their reported income, the IRS can audit them. The Illegal Drug Tax creates this line item enabling criminals to be prosecuted for tax evasion, even when they can't be tried for other crimes.

The IRS website lists how you should itemize your illegal drug income as: "Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity."

Stolen Property, Bribery and Kickbacks Tax
In the past 12 months if you received stolen property, were given a kickback by your less-than-ethical uncle or accepted a bribe, you must report that income on your 1040 Form.
The IRS requires you to record any stolen item's fair market value and report that as income on your taxes, unless you return the item(s) to their rightful owner before the end of the year. That is if the criminal can remember where they stole the item. Here is how you must claim that stolen property: "Line 21, Form 1040, Schedule C" is reserved for "kickbacks, side commissions, push money, or similar payments." Stolen property is considered by the IRS to be "self-employment activity" and is taxable income.

Nobel Peace Prize Tax
That's right. Income you earn by winning a Nobel Peace Prize is considered taxable income. So is winning the Pulitzer or any other prize where the recipient receives a monetary award or "prize of value." The only way not to pay taxes on these winnings is to donate them to charity (there are substantial requirements to meet for these donations, most do not qualify and will still owe taxes). If you solve world hunger, end global warming or find the cure for the common cold, you will be taxed on it.

The Bottom Line
For all of our nation's history, we've had to pay taxes. The tax codes, the percentages fluctuate and political parties promising reforms in our tax laws change, but taxes still have to be paid. Taxes must be collected for the country to "stay in business." How they are levied, whom they are levied upon and the methods behind those decisions are always up for debate.

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    The Top 9 Things to Know About Hillary Clinton's Economic View

    Find out where former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stands on the economy, jobs, trade and education.
  2. Retirement

    How do you calculate penalties on a 401(k) early withdrawal?

    Find out how to calculate the penalties on early withdrawals from your 401(k), including the impact of the additional 10% tax penalty, vesting and income tax.
  3. Savings

    A Look at the Cost and Tax Treatment of College

    Is there more we can do to improve the affordability of post-secondary education? We take a look at how students and colleges are taxed today.
  4. Taxes

    What's Wrong with the American Tax System

    American's are highly taxed and we still run a deficit. We explain why.
  5. Retirement

    Top Tips for Minimizing Taxes on Social Security

    Social Security benefits are taxable under certain circumstances. Here are some ways retirees can lessen the tax burden.
  6. Taxes

    What's IRS Form 2848 Used For?

    It's a power of attorney tax form and here's what it can, and cannot, do.
  7. Term

    What is Wealth Management?

    Wealth management combines financial and investment advice, accounting and tax services, and legal and estate planning.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Understanding Taxation On Leveraged ETFs

    Read about the potential tax implications for investors of leveraged exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, and learn why leveraged ETF taxation can be so complicated.
  9. Taxes

    Top Tips for Minimizing Taxes on Severance Pay

    A look at the top ways to lessen the tax burden on severance pay.
  10. Taxes

    What's IRS Form 1040 For?

    Most U.S. taxpayers will be familiar with the 1040. By the end of filling it out, you'll know how much tax you owe, or what your refund is.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has ...
  2. Duty Free

    Goods that international travelers can purchase without paying ...
  3. Wealth Management

    A high-level professional service that combines financial/investment ...
  4. Exchange-Traded Mutual Funds (ETMF)

    Investopedia explains the definition of exchange-traded mutual ...
  5. Tax Deductible Interest

    A borrowing expense that a taxpayer can claim on a federal or ...
  6. Guideline Premium And Corridor ...

    A test used to determine whether an insurance product can be ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. Are spousal Social Security benefits taxable?

    Your spousal Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your total household income for the year. About one-third ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do you calculate penalties on an IRA or Roth IRA early withdrawal?

    With a few exceptions, early withdrawals from traditional or Roth IRAs generally incur a tax penalty equal to 10% of the ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Are credit card rewards taxable?

    Credit card rewards are taxable in the United States some of the time. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies credit ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the Social Security tax rate?

    The Social Security tax rate is 12.4% as of 2015. Of that amount, the employee is responsible for half, or 6.2%, and the ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the Social Security administration responsible for?

    The main responsibility of the U.S. Social Security Administration, or SSA, is overseeing the country's Social Security program. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How is Social Security tax calculated?

    The Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance program, or OASDI, tax is calculated by taking a set percentage of your income ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!