Income taxes are the obligatory financial contribution levied against the annual earnings of both individuals and companies. Every year, income taxes are collected by the federal government via the filing of income tax returns. Every individual and company is responsible for truthfully and accurately reporting all of their income to the government in order for the correct amount of tax liability to be applied. The collection of this revenue pays for a number of federal programs, facilities and services that a large part of the population depends on every day. Federal income tax returns and state income tax returns are often filed together.
The three most common tax systems currently in use are progressive, regressive and proportional. A large majority of countries use the progressive model to collect income taxes. In this form of collection the higher the income, the higher the tax rate. Individuals are grouped into certain tax brackets based on income. To help reduce their tax burden, individuals are allowed certain deductions that can be subtracted from their gross income. These deductions can be anything from educational expenses to certain medical care expenses. A deduction is not the same as a tax credit. Tax credits reduce what an individual owes in total income taxes.