Dear Violet, Mia, Noelle, Charlie, Henry and George,

TAXES – are they good or bad?

Just about everyone pays taxes but many don’t like them and some refuse to pay them. Taxes are not voluntary – you must pay them. The Federal Government has many different taxes that must be paid. If you don’t pay them you are breaking the law and you are disobeying God. God says this:

Romans 13:7 (ESV) “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

1 Peter 2:13-17 (ESV)“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

Types of taxes – There are several types of taxes. The Federal government in Washington DC requires taxes to be paid on income, on profits from a business, for Social Security, for Medicare, on dividends and profits from investments. Most states also have income taxes or sales taxes or both. In fact, if you buy anything in Wisconsin (except most groceries) you pay 5.5% tax. That means you pay about six cents for every dollar you use to buy something to the State of Wisconsin. Some states charge more and some charge less. There are also special taxes on fuel purchased at a gas station.

Gas taxes in Wisconsin are comprised of a federal excise tax of 18.4 cents a gallon, a state excise tax of 30.9 cents and a Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Act fee of 2 cents. When your parents buy a gallon of gas in Wisconsin for $2.25 per gallon, about fifty-one cents goes to governments to pay tax and the rest the gas station can keep. (Not really – the gas station must pay for the gas and for people to work at the gas station, so they don’t even get to keep everything the government doesn’t take.)

That isn’t all. Cities, counties and schools can charge taxes too if you own property. So our home in Fitchburg costs us over $7,000 every year just in property taxes.

Taxes and Your UTMA Account – Most of this probably doesn’t matter to you today, but some day it will. The lesson to learn is that every dollar you receive (except most gifts) will require a tax payment. The gifts we gave you for your UTMA account are not taxable. However, some day the profits you earn from the investments in those accounts will be taxable. This probably won’t happen until you start working, but it will happen sooner than you think. When the time comes, pay your taxes.

Why Taxes are Good – One more thing: many people grumble and complain about paying taxes. When you pay your taxes, remember that they help pay for police protection, fire protection, our brave military men and women who protect us, school teachers, roads, bridges and caring for people like Uncle Brad.

I repeat what God says: “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” Don’t whine and fuss about taxes. Appreciate the things that you receive because you paid them.

Want some money? You won’t have to pay taxes on this!

Just to see if you read this to the end, I will give you $10 if you can tell me which state has the highest and which state has the lowest gasoline tax. The RED states are high and the YELLOW states are the low ones. Wisconsin and Illinois are RED, but they are not the highest! NOTE: This is for my grandchildren only, so if you read this and send me the answer you don’t qualify for the reward! Sorry about that.

Gasoline Taxes as of 2015