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Withholding and Estimated Tax

In the United States, income tax is paid on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. If you work for someone else, a certain portion of your pay will be subject to “withholding,” and sent by your employer to the federal and state governments. There will also be deductions for F.I.C.A. (social security tax), unemployment insurance, and for various …

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The W4 Form

When you start work for someone, you will have to fill out a “W4” form and choose the number of personal exemptions you will be taking. In general, you’ll get one personal exemption for yourself and another for every person–spouse, parent or child–you support. The more personal exemptions you choose on the form, the less …

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What the Money Looks Like

American coins and bills are confusing, so it pays to first familiarize yourself with the money before you start spending it. American paper money in all denominations is the same color and the same size. One, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar bills are most commonly used. Each bill will have a picture of a …

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Tax Returns

On the least popular day of the year, April 15, you will be required by federal and state governments to file a tax “return” for the previous year. The return will list your income and any allowed deductions or credits against that income. You’ll then figure out the tax you owe. If the amount is …

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Tax Forms

At tax return time, you will have a choice of several types of tax return forms. If you work for someone else, you will receive a “W2” form at the end of the year which shows how much money you made, how much was paid to the various taxing authorities and how much you kept. …

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Personal Taxes

It is impossible to live successfully in the USA without paying some attention to tax issues. In matters of income taxation alone, the federal government has its own laws and rules, as do many individual states and their subdivisions (counties, cities, towns, and villages). Because income taxation is so pervasive, most of the sections that follow give …

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Tangible Investments

Tangible investments are also part of the market for investments, although a risky one. The term refers to investing in actual physical objects that you yourself hold or have stored. These can include precious metals like gold, silver and platinum, art, antiques, collectibles like baseball cards and old dolls, vintage automobiles, musical instruments, early personal …

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Sales Taxes

Sales taxes exist in most but not all states, and are much harder to avoid than income taxes. Merchants and service providers are responsible for collecting sales tax on purchases, preparing periodic returns, and sending the funds in to the state tax authorities. Not all products and services are taxed. Often food and clothing is …

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Retirement Accounts

American tax law structures itself to encourage people to contribute to voluntary retirement accounts. The most popular is the Individual Retirement Account, widely called the IRA. Several types of IRAs are available, each with different rules and different benefits. A traditional IRA involves an investment, often annually, of pre-tax dollars. The IRA can be dedicated to a …

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Real Estate as Investment

No Sure Thing. While people in America still make money in real estate, the great boom is over. Many savings and loan institutions and banks who put their capital into real estate have failed. During last few decades of the 20th century, fantastic money was made by ordinary people on ordinary houses and properties: everything from …

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