An Overview of Personal Income Taxes

What you need to know to file and pay your taxes.

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With the possible exception of accountants, nobody likes taxes. But most of us recognize that our taxes are necessary to keep the country running, and pay for necessities like national security, infrastructure, education, food and drug safety, Social Security, Medicare, and so on.

As an individual, you're responsible for paying taxes on any income that you earn. In most cases, your employer will deduct your income from your paychecks, so you're not likely to owe much income tax at the end of the year. The important thing is to file a return on time, and to pay the taxes you owe by the deadline. If you can't, the IRS does offer payment plans, though it will charge you interest. Here are some questions about taxes that you may need answered.

Filing Tax Returns

Dealing With High Tax Bills

You may feel tempted to rebel against the system, but it isn't worth it. The IRS is especially good at hunting down scofflaws and holding on tenaciously. If you choose not to pay taxes, or if you cheat on your taxes, you risk getting caught and suffering the consequences -- which aren't pretty.

To Learn More

For secrets, tips, and insider information on how to deal with the IRS, get Stand Up to the IRS, by Federick Daily (Nolo).

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