What Is Income Tax?

What Is Income Tax?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

Income tax is a type of tax that governments impose on individuals’ and corporations’ income. The tax is determined by the government tax authority based on the taxable income of the taxpayer, which may include earnings from employment, self-employment, dividends, interest, and other profit sources. Different rates of income tax exist for different levels of income, commonly referred to as tax brackets.

Related Questions

1. Who is required to pay income tax?

Everyone earning an income greater than a stipulated threshold is required to pay income tax. This applies for both individuals and corporations. Each country has its own regulations and guidelines about who is accountable to pay income tax.

2. What happens if you do not pay your income tax?

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If you don’t pay your income tax, you may face penalties and legal consequences. These penalties can range from additional fines and interest charges to possible imprisonment in severe cases.

3. What is included in taxable income?

Taxable income can include any money you receive throughout the tax year. This includes salaries, wages, bonuses, tips, commissions, unemployment benefits, and any other profit from goods or services. Income from investments like dividends and stocks can also be taxed.

4. How are income taxes used by the government?

Income taxes provide governments with funds for public services like education, healthcare, public transportation, and social services. These funds also support the functioning of government institutions.

5. How can one reduce their payable income tax?

There are legal ways to reduce the amount of income tax you owe, commonly referred to as tax planning or tax-efficient investing. This can involve using tax deductions, tax credits, and tax shelters provided in tax laws to minimize your tax liability.