What Is Income Tax and How it works

What Is Income Tax

Income tax is a tax imposed by the government on individuals or businesses that is based on their income or profit. It is one of the most important sources of revenue for governments around the world and is used to fund public services, infrastructure, and other government activities. This article will discuss the basics of income tax, including who pays it, how it is calculated, and what deductions are available.

History of Income Tax

The history of income tax in the United States dates back to the Civil War when the federal government first imposed a tax on personal income to help fund the war effort. The first income tax was enacted in 1861 and was a flat tax of 3% on all incomes over $800. This tax was repealed in 1872 but was re-enacted in 1894. This time, the tax was a graduated tax, with higher rates for higher incomes. This tax was ruled unconstitutional in 1895 but was re-enacted in 1913 with the passage of the 16th Amendment. This amendment allowed the federal government to impose a tax on all incomes, regardless of source.

Since then, the federal income tax has undergone numerous changes and revisions. The tax rate has been adjusted many times, and the number of tax brackets has increased. In addition, the federal government has added many deductions and credits to the tax code, allowing taxpayers to reduce their tax liability. The most recent major changes to the federal income tax came with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which lowered tax rates for most taxpayers and increased the standard deduction.

How Income Tax Works

Income tax is a type of tax that is imposed on individuals and businesses by the government. It is based on the income of the taxpayer and is typically calculated as a percentage of the taxpayer’s total income. The amount of income tax owed is determined by the taxpayer’s filing status, income level, and other factors.

Income tax is typically collected by the government through withholding taxes from an employee’s paycheck, or by requiring individuals and businesses to file a tax return and pay the amount due. Depending on the jurisdiction, income tax may be imposed on both earned income (such as wages, salaries, and tips) and unearned income (such as interest, dividends, and capital gains).

Income tax is typically progressive, meaning that the tax rate increases as the taxpayer’s income increases. This means that taxpayers with higher incomes pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. Some jurisdictions also impose a flat tax, which is a single tax rate imposed on all taxpayers regardless of their income level.

Income tax is used to fund government programs and services, such as national defense, education, and infrastructure. It is also used to reduce economic inequality by providing tax breaks and credits to lower-income taxpayers.

What is income tax

Types of Income Tax

Following are the Three Types of Income Tax:

1. Individual Income Tax:

Individual income tax is a tax imposed on individuals by the government. This tax is based on the individual’s income and is used to fund government programs and services. The amount of tax an individual pays is determined by their income level, filing status, and other factors. The tax rate can vary from one jurisdiction to another, and is usually progressive, meaning that the higher the income, the higher the tax rate.

2. Business Income Tax:

Business income tax is a tax imposed on the net income of businesses. The amount of tax imposed will vary depending on the jurisdiction, but it is typically based on the net income of the business. It is usually imposed at the corporate level, but it can also be imposed at the individual level for certain types of businesses. Business income tax is typically used to fund government operations and services, such as infrastructure and public safety.

3. State and Local Income Tax:

State and local income taxes are taxes imposed on individuals or businesses by state and local governments. These taxes are typically based on the amount of income earned, and the rate of taxation varies from state to state. Some states also allow local governments to impose their own income taxes. In most cases, state and local income taxes are deductible from federal income taxes.

What percent of income is taxed?

The exact percentage of income that is taxed depends on the individual’s income level and filing status. Generally, the federal income tax rate ranges from 10% to 37%.

How can I calculate income tax?

Income tax can be calculated by following these steps:

  1. Calculate your taxable income: Start by calculating your total income from all sources, including wages, investments, and other sources.
  2. Determine your filing status: Your filing status will determine the tax rate you will use to calculate your income tax.
  3. Calculate your deductions: Depending on your filing status, you may be able to deduct certain expenses, such as medical expenses, charitable donations, and mortgage interest.
  4. Calculate your tax credits: Tax credits can reduce your tax liability and may include credits for education, child care, and retirement savings.
  5. Calculate your income tax: Once you have determined your taxable income, filing status, deductions, and credits, you can calculate your income tax by multiplying your taxable income by the appropriate tax rate.
  6. File your taxes: After you have calculated your income tax, you will need to file your taxes with the IRS.

Which states have no income tax?

Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming are among the states without an income tax. These states do not have an income tax because they rely on other sources of revenue, such as sales taxes, property taxes, and other fees, to fund their state budgets.


In conclusion, income tax is a form of taxation imposed by the government on individuals and businesses to generate revenue for public services. It is a progressive tax, meaning that the more you earn, the higher your tax rate. Income tax is an important source of revenue for the government and helps to fund public services. It is important to understand the different types of income tax and how they apply to you so that you can ensure you are paying the correct amount of tax.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *