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Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 OPINION Page 71 percent of all U.S. households will face higher federal taxes this year. Individuals like my friend who earn $40,000 to $50,000 per year can look forward to an average increase of $822, most of which is due to the expiration of the 2-percent Social Security payroll tax cut. The full weight of the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare) has yet to be felt by middle class taxpayers. They will not have to wait long. Unwisely, some people choose to pay no income tax whatsoever. That decision can have undesired consequences. Orlando, FL-born actor Wesley Snipes, 50, known to many for his starring role in the Blade film series, was sentenced in 2008 by the Federal District Court in Ocala, FL, to three years of imprisonment for willfully failing to file tax returns. He was also ordered to pay $17 million in taxes, penalties and interest. Tax hikes are never popular, especially when they come as surprises. Reactions by those affected vary widely. Last month former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, 58, announced plans to move to London to escape his socialist successor's proposed 75 percent tax on the country's very rich. Also in January, French actor Gérard Depardieu, 64, became a Russian citizen rather than submit to the confiscatory new taxes. Russia has a flat tax rate of 13 percent. Convicted of tax fraud in 1989, New York City hotelier Leona ("only the little people pay taxes") Helmsley (1920-2007) served four years in prison and was ordered to pay $7.1 million in restitution. In 1931, Chicago mobster Al Capone (18991947) was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment, five of which he spent in Alcatraz. Capone is quoted as having said at trial, "The income tax law is a lot of bunk. The government can't collect My friend said that he did not want, and in any legal taxes from illegal money." Big Al was case could not afford, to relocate to England wrong. or Russia. (He has left Florida only twice in On occasion tax policy has profoundly influhis life — to visit his aunt in Mobile, AL.) But enced the course of American history. British he also did not want to bring home less this financial and tax policy toward the American year than he did last. Wisely, he went to his colonies was a major cause of the American boss and explained the problem. His boss ofRevolution. fered to increase his take-home pay to last year's level, as well as to add 2 percent to his For example, the Tea Act was passed by Partake-home pay as a cost of living increase in liament on May 10, 1773, for the sole purpose recognition of the value of his contribution to of bailing out the financially distressed British East India Co. Established by royal charter in the business.

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