By Ken Hambrick
If you drive a car, I'll tax the street, If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat, If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
~The Beatles – Taxman
The average family pays more in taxes today than for food, clothing and shelter combined. Some sources claim as much as 57% of our income goes to taxes.
Some taxes are well known or obvious, like income tax, sales tax, property tax and gasoline taxes. But there are a lot that we’ll bet you don’t even know you’re paying.
Here are a few examples:
From everyday life:
- Telephone tax – We’re paying a tax that’s over a hundred years old on our landline phones. Starting as a tax to support the Spanish American War, it’s still here.
- Cell phone tax – The taxman has to stay technologically current so we now have a tax on wireless communications. In California, a tax of 16.8% is applied to our bills.
- Utility taxes – Turn on the water tap or flip on the light switch and these taxes kick in. Even though not shown separately on our bills, we all pay them.
- Sin Taxes – Most of us know that liquor, beer, tobacco and vaping are all heavily taxed. But do we realize how much? 72% of the cost of a bottle of liquor, 43% of a bottle of beer and cigarettes a huge 82%. There’s an old adage, “If you don’t drink, smoke or drive a car you are a tax evader."
- Insurance tax – Do you have a life insurance policy for the protection of your loved ones? If you do, there’s an insurance tax embedded in every premium payment you make.
- Electronic waste recycling – Buying a new computer or TV? Since September 2003, we’ve had to pay this State Environmental Fee. But if we take a TV or computer to the dump they still charge us $25 - $40.
For the auto enthusiasts:
- Gas guzzler tax – If you are thinking of buying a new car be careful. You may be paying this tax if the mileage delivered is less than 22.5 mpg as measured by the EPA. You won’t see it on the sticker; it’s added into the manufacture’s price, anywhere from $3000 to $7700.
- Tires – Buy a new set and you pay an excise tax which is not shown on the invoice. And now we pay a disposal fee too.
For the sports fans:
- Jock tax – California started it in 1991, a form of income tax. First athletes and now other entertainers are included too, even if they’re here only one day.
- Firearms tax – If you are in the market for a pistol or rifle, be prepared to pay an excise tax that isn’t disclosed to you.
- Bow and arrow tax – Not even Prince John would put an excise tax on the “tools of their trade” for Robin Hood and his Merry Men, but the Federal government shows no mercy to modern day archers. And not to discriminate against other sports, the Feds have slapped a hidden tax on all kinds of fishing tackle.
- Airplane tickets – Flying to see your grandmother? If you think the ticket costs a lot, it’s because up to 30% is taxes.
- Hotel and car and rental taxes – Travelers must pay these taxes wherever they go. Voters pass these taxes easily because visitors. not residents, are taxed.
And last, but not least, we have one for our health and well-being:
- Vaccine tax – Do you know we are paying a hidden tax when we get a flu shot? Or when a child is vaccinated? Well we are, on these and lots of other vaccines.
In retrospect, now some 50 years later, The Beatles clearly knew what they were singing about.