According to figures from the National Taxpayers Union, Americans spent 3.8 billion hours completing tax paperwork in 2009. The tax code is almost 4 million words long. While most people are happy to get a tax refund, going through W-2s and other tax forms is not what most taxpayers consider to be fun. On average, four out of every five taxpayers gets a refund, which commonly goes toward investments or a vacation.
How much an individual may owe or get back varies from person to person based on their tax bracket and ability to qualify for deductions and rebates. An analysis done by the Tax Policy Center found that the average American pays about 19.8 percent of his or her income in federal taxes. This includes estate, excise and payroll taxes in addition to amounts withheld for federal income tax.
It is important to note that the above percentage only takes into account federal taxes. Individuals may pay more depending on how much they owe in state and local taxes. It is also important to know that someone in the 25 percent tax bracket is only taxed at that rate on income within that bracket. This means someone in the 25 percent bracket wouldn’t actually pay 25 percent of their total income in taxes.
Those who have questions about their tax return or an IRS audit may wish to talk with a tax attorney. An attorney may be able to review a case and represent a client against the IRS in any tax dispute. Legal counsel may pursue a judgment that results in no changes to an individual’s tax return, or create a compromise that is acceptable to his or her client.