Why don't schools teach children about taxes and bills and things that they will definitely need to know as adults to get by in life?
Departments of education and school districts always have to make decisions about what to include in their curriculum. There are a lot of life skills that people need that aren't taught in school. The question is should those skills be taught in schools?I teach high school, so I'll talk about that. The typical high school curriculum is supposed to give students a broad-based education that prepares them to be citizens in a democracy and to be able to think critically. For a democracy to work, we need educated, discerning citizens with the ability to make good decisions based on evidence and objective thought. In theory, people who are well informed about history, culture, science, mathematics, etc., and are capable of critical, unbiased thinking, will have the tools to participate in a democracy and make good decisions for themselves and for society at large. In addition to that, they should be learning how to be learners, how to do effective, basic research, and collaborate with other people. If that happens, figuring out how to do procedural tasks in real life should not prmuch of a challenge. We can't possibly teach every necessary life skill people need, but we can help students become better at knowing how to acquire the skills they need. Should we teach them how to change a tire when they can easily consult a book or search the internet to find step by step instructions for that? Should we teach them how to balance a check book or teach them how to think mathematically and make sense of problems so that the simple task of balancing a check book (which requires simple arithmetic and the ability to enter numbers and words in columns and rows in obvious ways) is easy for them to figure out. If we teach them to be good at critical thinking and have some problem solving skills they will be able to apply those overarching skills to all sorts of every day tasks that shouldn't be difficult for someone with decent cognitive ability to figure out. It's analogous to asking why a culinary school didn't teach its students the steps and ingredients to a specific recipe. The school taught them about more general food preparation and food science skills so that they can figure out how to make a lot of specific recipes without much trouble. They're also able to create their own recipes.So, do we want citizens with very specific skill sets that they need to get through day to day life or do we want citizens with critical thinking, problem solving, and other overarching cognitive skills that will allow them to easily acquire ANY simple, procedural skill they may come to need at any point in their lives?
How can my employer charge me taxes when I didn't fill out any form (like W2, W4, or W9)?
**UPDATE** After my answer was viewed over 4,100 times without a single upvote, I revisited it to see where I might have gone wrong with it. Honestly, it seems like a reasonable answer: I explained what each of the forms asked about is for and even suggested getting further information from a licensed tax preparer. BUT, I’m thinking I missed the underlying concern of the querent with my answer. Now I’m reading that they don’t care so much about the forms as they do about the right or, more accurately, the obligation of their employer to withhold taxes at all.So let me revise my answer a bit…Your employer doesn’t charge you taxes - the government does. The government forces employers to withhold (or charge, as you put it) taxes from the earnings of their employees by threatening fines and even jail time for failing to do so (or for reclassifying them as independent contractors in order to avoid the withholding and matching requirements). Whether you fill out any forms or not, employers will withhold taxes because they don’t want to be fined or go to jail.Now the meta-question in the question is how can the government tax its citizen’s income? Well, that’s a big debate in America. Tax is the only way governments make money and they use that money to prservices for their constituency. Without funding, no federal or state or county program, or employee, would exist. But still, some people believe taxation is illegal, unjustified, and flat out wrong. They believe that free market forces should fund the military, the Coast Guard, Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Border Patrol, the FBI, CIA, DEA, FDA, USDA, USPS, the Federal Prison Complex, the National Park Service, the Interstate Highway System, air traffic control, and the Judiciary (just to name a few things). They even believe paying politicians for the work they do, like the President and Congress, is wrong.Others (luckily, most of us) appreciate paying taxes, even if they seem a bit steep at times. We’re happy to benefit from all the things our tax dollars buy us and we feel what we pay gives us back returns far greater than our investment. If you’re on the fence about this issue, consider how expensive health care is and how much you’re getting out of paying for it privately (out of your own paycheck). Same with your education or that of your children. Do you pay for private schools? Private colleges? Do you pay for private child care too? All expensive, right?Well what if we had to pay for private fire fighting? Or all mail had to be shipped via FedEx or UPS? Or if the cost of a plane ticket to anywhere doubled because we had to pay out-of-pocket for air traffic control? What about the military, border control and veterans? How much are you willing to pay out of every paycheck DIRECTLY to the department of defense AND veterans affairs? If we privatized the military, would we still be able to afford $30 billion dollar fighter jets? Who would pay to defend us?I bet people living paycheck to paycheck would be hard pressed to find extra money to pay for the military, when they’re already spending so much for teachers, schools, health care, local emergency response, food safety inspections, social workers, the criminal justice system, road repairs and construction, bridge inspection and maintenance, and natural disaster remediation (just to name a few things).Think about if all the national and local parks were privatized. Visiting one would cost as much or more than it does to go to Disneyland. Think about how much more food would cost if farmers weren’t subsidized and food wasn’t inspected for safety. Imagine how devastating a pandemic would be without the Center for Disease Control to monitor and mitigate illness outbreaks.We all take for granted the myriad of benefits we get from paying taxes. We may like to gripe and moan but taxes aren’t just for the public good, they’re for our own. (That rhymes!)**END OF UPDATE**W-9 forms are what you fill out to verify your identification, or citizenship status, for your employers. They have nothing to do with payroll taxes other than being the primary tool to from which to glean the correct spelling of your name and your Social Security number.W-2 forms are issued by employers to employees for whom they paid the required payroll taxes to the government on their behalf. The W-2 also details the amount of a person’s pay was sent to the government to fund their Social Security and Medicare accounts. W-2 forms are necessary for people when filing their personal income taxes so they can calculate if they under or overpaid.W-4 forms are filled out by employees to assure that the appropriate amount of pay is being withheld (and transferred on their behalf) by their employers to the government. If you don’t fill out a W-4 then your employer withholds the standard default amount for a single individual. You can update your W-4 at any time with your employer and you may want to when the size of your household changes.Even if you aren’t an employee (like you get paid without taxes being withheld for you) and are issued a 1099-MISC form instead of a W-2, you’re STILL responsible for paying your taxes as you earn that money - in no greater than quarterly installments. If you go over three months without paying taxes when you’re making money - whether your employer is withholding it and paying it on your behalf or you just made the money and no one took any taxes out for you - you’ll be fined and charged interest on your late tax payments.Talk with a licensed tax preparer and they can help you better understand what it all means. Good luck and happy tax season!
If a foreign citizen lives in the US on a working visa for more than a year, then what is his status? What tax form will such a person fill out when filing for taxes at the end of the tax year? Is the 1040NR the form to fill out?
In most situations, a person who is physically present in the United States for at least 183 days out of any calendar year is a US resident for tax purposes and must file Form 1040 as a tax resident. There are exceptions to this general rule, but none of them apply to people who are present in the United States in H-1B (guest worker) status. Furthermore, H-1B workers are categorically resident aliens for tax purposes and must pay taxes on the income they earn while in H-1B status as a resident alien in every year in which they earn more than the personal exemption limit. This includes both the first year and last year, even if the first or last year contains less than 183 days of residence in the United States. The short years may result in a filing as a “dual-status” alien.An H-1B worker will therefore only file Form 1040NR as his or her primary tax return in the tax year in which he or she leaves the United States permanently, and all US-connected income during that year will be taxed as if the taxpayer was a US resident, under the dual-status rules. All other tax returns during that person’s residence in the United States will be on Form 1040. The first year’s return may be under dual-status rules, with a Form 1040NR attached as a “dual status statement” as per the procedure in Chapter 6 of Publication 519 (2021), U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. A person who resides the entire year in the United States in H-1B status may not use Form 1040NR, and is required to pay US income tax on his or her worldwide income, excepting only that income which is subject to protection under a tax treaty.See Publication 519 (2021), U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens for more information. The use of a tax professional, especially in the first and last year of H-1B status, is highly recommended as completing a dual-status return correctly is exceedingly challenging.