Showing posts with label US income tax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US income tax. Show all posts

Monday, April 15, 2013

5 Resources to Help Students Learn About Income Taxes

Today is the busiest day of the year for the U.S. Post Office. Why? Because tax returns have to be post marked by today. If you're looking for some resources for teaching about taxes, take a look at the items below.

This morning's episode of CNN Student News has a short segment on income taxes. And on the topic of the economics, today's episode also explains Bitcoins.


For high school students, college students, and adults CNN's Explain It To Me video about the "Buffett Rule" explains why sometimes the super rich don't pay as high a percentage of their income in taxes as the rest of us.

From time to time we all wonder where our tax dollars go. Now thanks to the White House's Federal Tax Payer Receipt we can find out. Visitors to the site can enter the data from their actual tax returns, enter data that they estimate, or choose to use one of the "common scenarios" to see a breakdown of what their tax dollars will be spent on.

Another place to see how tax revenue is distributed is What We Pay For. What We Pay For uses publicly available tax data to show you how your tax money is appropriated. On the left side of the screen you will see the total revenue and appropriations for the entire United States. On the right side of the screen you can enter your filing status and pre-tax earnings for the year to see the approximate amount you will pay toward US budget items. You can enter your pre-tax earnings as an annual figure, monthly figure, weekly, daily, or hourly wage.

The IRS website, Understanding Taxes, is a good source of lesson plans and individual learning materials about taxes and budgets. In the teacher section of the site you will find lesson plans like this one (opens as pdf) designed to teach students about services for which tax revenue is used. This lesson plan is based on the 2011 tax code, it has not been updated to reflect the 2012 tax code. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The White House Shows You Where Your Tax Dollars Went

I have to admit that I am guilty of occasionally wondering where my tax dollars go. Now thanks to the White House's Federal Tax Payer Receipt I can find out.  I can enter the data from my actual tax returns, enter data that I estimate, or choose to use one of the "common scenarios" to see a breakdown of what my tax dollars will be spent on. The screenshot you see below is based on my selection of the scenario for a single person earning $25,000.

Applications for Education
The Federal Tax Payer Receipt could be useful for showing students how tax revenue is used by the federal government. This could be of particular interest to high school students who may have had their first jobs and first experiences with income taxes this year.

For more resources that you can use to teach students about income taxes please see Financial Literacy, Taxes, and Economics Lessons.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Taxes, Sandstorms, and Tractors

On Friday I shared some resources for teaching about taxes and economics. This morning CNN Student News explains why US income tax filings are due today, where the tax revenue goes, and the history of income taxes in the United States. The episode is embedded below.


The second segment of today's CNN Student News covers sandstorms in the Middle East. Then learn about what some Major League Baseball players are doing to try to end human trafficking and slavery. Finally, students will learn about a school that allows students to drive tractors to school.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Financial Literacy, Taxes, and Economics Lessons

This evening I opened an email from Edutopia that contained a nice, simple infographic about the importance of financial literacy. The infographic has some basic statistics about the debt load carried by young people and how personal finance education can change those statistics. The infographic is really just a promotion for Edutopia's other materials about financial literacy. It also reminded me of some other resources for teaching students about personal finance and taxes. As the income tax filing deadline is just a few days away in the United States, I thought it would be good to highlight some resources for teaching about taxes too.



The IRS website, Understanding Taxes, is a good source of lesson plans and individual learning materials about taxes and budgets. In the teacher section of the site you will find lesson plans like this one (opens as pdf) designed to teach students about services for which tax revenue is used.

PBS Kids has a great lesson plan for introducing young students to the concepts of budgets and taxes. The lesson starts with a focus on the students' personal budget before moving onto the basic concepts of government budget.

At Where Did My Tax Dollars Go? you can enter your gross income for the year and your filing status to see a break down of where your dollars went. The break down includes an interactive pie chart that you can click on to find a further break down of each category on the chart. For example if you click on the National Defense section of the pie chart you will see how many of your dollars went to the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Just where does of all the collected tax revenue go? What We Pay For has some answers to that question. What We Pay For uses publicly available tax data to show you how your tax money is appropriated. On the left side of the screen you will see the total revenue and appropriations for the entire United States. On the right side of the screen you can enter your filing status and pre-tax earnings for the year to see the approximate amount you will pay toward US budget items. You can enter your pre-tax earnings as an annual figure, monthly figure, weekly, daily, or hourly wage.

Visual Economics is a provider of articles and infographics about various economics-related topics. One of their better infographics is titled How Wealthy Countries Tax Their Citizens. The infographic depicts how the world's 29 wealthiest countries tax their citizens and how that money is spent.

For high school students, college students, and adults CNN's Explain It To Me video about the "Buffett Rule" explains why sometimes the super rich don't pay as high a percentage of their income in taxes as the rest of us.


And here you can find eleven economics infographics that I've highlighted in the past.

Friday, April 16, 2010

How Wealthy Countries Tax Their Citizens

Visual Economics is a provider of articles and infographics about various economics-related topics. Yesterday, I came across an infographic they produced titled How Wealthy Countries Tax Their Citizens. The infographic depicts how the world's 29 wealthiest countries tax their citizens and how that money is spent. Some of the other infographics from Visual Economics are Timeline of the New Healthcare Bill, US Trade Bans Across the Globe, and A Detailed Look at TARP.

Applications for Education
How Wealthy Countries Tax Their Citizens could be used as a conversation starter in a civics class or in an economics class. You could assign each student a country to research to find out why they spend their tax revenues on different expenditures.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The History of Credit Cards in the United States
Saving Money in Plain English
A Pictorial History of Money



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why April 15th is Tax Day in the US

By the time you read this you'll have less than 24 hours to postmark your tax return (note to self, stop at the post office today). Why is April 15th the day that tax returns are due? Watch today's episode of CNN Student News to find out.


Applications for Education
If you're a high school teacher, you may have students filing tax returns this year. In addition to this episode of CNN Student News, you may be interested the National Archives'
primary source documents and lesson plan suggestions about the federal income tax. The combination of these resources may help your high school students understand why they are filing tax returns.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Budget Cuts and Taxes - Lesson Plans

Today's episode of CNN Student News contains a segment about impact of a proposed budget cut on students in California. This segment could be a good introduction to teaching lessons on how state budgets are formed, how a revenue is raised, and how tax revenue is spent. Below the video embedded below you'll find a couple of corresponding lesson plans.


PBS Kids has a great lesson plan for introducing young students to the concepts of budgets and taxes. The lesson starts with a focus on the students' personal budget before moving onto the basic concepts of government budget.

The IRS website, Understanding Taxes, is a good source of lesson plans and individual learning materials about taxes and budgets. In the teacher section of the site you will find lesson plans like this one (opens as pdf) designed to teach students about services for which tax revenue is used.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
It's Tax Day! Where Does the Money Go?
Learning About US Income Taxes
The Importance of Supreme Court Nominations
Lesson Plans from the US Department of State
Civics Lessons for ESL Students

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Parties Then and Now

Yesterday was Tax Day here in the United States. Across the country various groups, including one here in Maine, organized "tea parties" to protest excessive taxation. Today's episode of CNN Student News starts out with a three minute segment about the various protests that took place yesterday. The video is embedded below.


Applications for Education
This video could be used to start a good classroom discussion about the size of the federal government, the role of government in the lives of private citizens, and the question of where does tax money go?

The video makes a comparison to the Boston Tea Party of 1773. You could have students compare the issues surrounding the Boston Tea Party and the issues surrounding today's tax system. The National Archives has a some good primary documents and lesson plans about the Boston Tea Party that you may want to explore.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Tax Day! Where Does the Money Go?

Today is the deadline for filing personal income tax reports in the US. Two questions that my students always ask are "where does the money go?" and "does everyone have to file?" Today's episode of CNN Student News tackles these questions in the third segment of the episode. The video is embedded below.


You can find some additional resources, including primary documents, for teaching about the US income tax here.

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