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Taxes in America: What Everyone Needs to Know

de Leonard E. Burman

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Most contemporary Americans know little about how their tax system works. But with heated debates over taxation now roiling Congress and the nation, an understanding of our tax system is of vital importance. In this book the authors, both tax scholars, offer explanations of how our tax system works, how it affects people and businesses, and how it might be improved. Organized in a question-and-answer format, the book describes the intricacies of the modern tax system. The authors begin with the basic definitions of taxes and then delve into more complicated and indeed contentious concerns. They address such questions as how to recognize Fool's Gold tax reform plans ; How much more tax could the IRS collect with better enforcement? ; How do tax burdens vary around the world? ; Why do corporations pay so little tax, even though they earn trillions of dollars every year? ; And what kind of tax system is most conducive to economic growth? They discuss key issues such as the large number of social programs hidden in the tax code, how taxes affect the economy, how the burdens of taxation are distributed, and the costs of running the tax code on both the IRS and taxpayers. They also dive into the political process, the genesis of ill-advised tax ideas, and options to improve the tax system. With the U.S. struggling to recover from the deepest economic recession since the 1930s, facing a mountain of debt, it is important for Americans to understand the tax system. This book describes modern tax realities, and educates Americans about the issues in the debate about tax reform.… (més)
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Taxes in America by Leonard Burman and Joel Slemrod is a no-nonsense introduction to the U.S. tax system: how the tax code works, how it affects people and businesses, and how it might be improved. Burman and Slemrod begin with the basic definitions of tax and related concepts, and then dive into more complicated and controversial topics. Also the rationale behind the tax code and assorted deductions and programs is explained.
Burman and Slemrod’s style is casually conversational with a question-and-answer format. For the most part, the writing stays clear despite the complex issues involved; there were very few passages that were convoluted and required more than one reading. A good book for the layman wanting to know the basics about taxes and how economists think about taxation.
EJ 03/2013
  PeskyLibrary | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Most contemporary Americans know little about how their tax system works. But with heated debates over taxation now roiling Congress and the nation, an understanding of our tax system is of vital importance. In this book the authors, both tax scholars, offer explanations of how our tax system works, how it affects people and businesses, and how it might be improved. Organized in a question-and-answer format, the book describes the intricacies of the modern tax system. The authors begin with the basic definitions of taxes and then delve into more complicated and indeed contentious concerns. They address such questions as how to recognize Fool's Gold tax reform plans ; How much more tax could the IRS collect with better enforcement? ; How do tax burdens vary around the world? ; Why do corporations pay so little tax, even though they earn trillions of dollars every year? ; And what kind of tax system is most conducive to economic growth? They discuss key issues such as the large number of social programs hidden in the tax code, how taxes affect the economy, how the burdens of taxation are distributed, and the costs of running the tax code on both the IRS and taxpayers. They also dive into the political process, the genesis of ill-advised tax ideas, and options to improve the tax system. With the U.S. struggling to recover from the deepest economic recession since the 1930s, facing a mountain of debt, it is important for Americans to understand the tax system. This book describes modern tax realities, and educates Americans about the issues in the debate about tax reform.

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