10 Easy-to-Overlook Taxes; Use AICPA's Total Tax Insights (tm) Calculator to Gauge Their Impact 

Estimator Can Improve Your Tax Awareness and Enhance Financial Planning 
Published November 01, 2012

Media Contact: Jay Hyde, 202-434-9266,
jhyde@aicpa.org or Shirley Twillman, 202-434-9220, stwillman@aicpa.org.

Washington (Nov. 1, 2012) –
With few Americans aware of the number and types of taxes they pay each year, the American Institute of CPAsTotal Tax Insights calculator sheds light on the existence of 10 common taxes you may not know you’re paying.


The 10 common, but not widely known, taxes are among more than 20 factored into the Total Tax Insights calculator’s estimations. They are (ranked in no particular order):

Medicare Tax

The amount withheld by your employer from your paycheck that helps cover the cost of running the Medicare program, the federal system of health insurance for people over the age of 65.



Self-Employment Tax

A Social Security and Medicare tax for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners.

Alternative Minimum Tax

A mechanism created to ensure that individuals pay at least some minimum amount of federal income tax, regardless of deductions, credits or exemptions.



Electricity or Natural Gas Tax

A tax collected by energy suppliers based on consumption during the billing period.




Cable Tax

Tax imposed on cable television subscribers.




Landline Phone Tax

Federal and state tax associated with use of a fixed phone line.



Cell Phone Tax

Federal and state tax imposed on mobile telephone users.



State Gasoline Tax

A tax on every gallon of gasoline sold.



Cigarette Tax

Tax on cigarette use.




State Alcohol Tax

Tax imposed on the purchase of beer, wine and spirits.




“Most Americans’ tax awareness is limited to recognition of income, property and Social Security taxes,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA. “However, there are other taxes imposed by federal, state and local governments on energy consumption, phone use and television viewing, among other day-to-day activities. Our Total Tax Insights calculator can help you estimate your obligation for a wide range of taxes so you can factor those costs into your financial plans.”


Based upon the information provided by the user, the Total Tax Insights calculator estimates what the taxpayer is paying on an annual basis for more than 20 different taxes and provides a pie chart that shows the percentage of their total tax bill by category. The more information users provide, the more detailed their estimate will be.


“As Americans witness the national conversation about tax policy – including discussions regarding the ‘fiscal cliff’ – the Total Tax Insights calculator makes the debate more relevant for individuals by estimating the scope and impact of taxes where they live,” said Edward S. Karl, CPA, AICPA’s vice president for taxation. “Tax transparency, one of the AICPA’s principles in working for a better tax system, is of fundamental importance in making key decisions that can affect your financial well-being.”


The Total Tax Insights calculator is a tax estimator tool only and is not intended to serve as an online tax preparation tool for either a federal or state income tax return, or any other return. A user’s privacy is protected because the Total Tax Insights calculator does not require individuals to identify themselves in any way and the data is erased when a user leaves the website.


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