Concepts in Federal Income Tax

One of the four courses I’m taking is concepts in federal income tax with Dr. Don Furman. Coming from another country with a completely different tax system and different tax law system you can’t feel anything but lost when it comes to the American taxes. The course is very interesting and Dr. Don Furman is very good in what his teaching and with keeping the subject interesting, (even though everybody thinks that taxes are boring.)

So far in this course I have learned a few important things: YOU can’t do your own taxes, it’s too complex. One example is to try choosing the right tax form, you can choose all three of them but the explanation is; the least complex tax form is 1040EZ, the 1040A is more complex than 1040EZ, and the 1040 is more complex than 1040A. Any person would pick up the phone and call an accountant to fix the taxes.

If you don’t know how much you own to the IRS pay more or else the penalty fees will stack up.

Confusing fact everybody has rights to deduction but for different amounts depending on your relationship status OK, but here comes the confusing part if you are over 65 and/or are blind you can claim an additional deduction. I can understand the part over 65 but the question is why blind and not other disabilities it doesn’t make any sense why other disabilities can’t claim an additional deduction? If somebody knows why please tell me.

The most important rule to think about is that taxes are due April 15 each year; it means that taxes are going to be paid to the IRS regardless of extensions that you get.

If my stay in America would be longer I would have taken some more tax courses because it is interesting to learn how it works in the States. The course is confusing and fun at the same time I recommend it for people who seek some tax adventures.



  1. Johan Rohyo

    Jeff, that’s actually good that you can do your own taxes, but would you be able to do your taxes without the software program? The tax regulations changes at least once a year so it’s hard to keep up with the changes. I can’t speak for other countries, but the Swedish tax system is much more logical and easy, we fill out our tax forms without the help of any software. We get a brochure where we can find what and what’s not deductable and all other things we need to know. Also the Swedish IRS promotes every year that they want us texting in or send our returns online, so it’s less paper work for them and more correct calculations.

    I actually recommend that people take an Income Tax course, because you learn so much about how the system works, it makes it much easier to understand.

    Jeff keep up with the good work 🙂

  2. Jeff

    Johan – maybe I am naive, but I have always done my own taxes. I used to use the paper forms, but as you gain more deductions and “stuff” it’s important to use a software package. I have used most of the ones sold out there – and like H&R Blocks home tax software the best for my purposes. And no – I am not getting anything for plugging their software ; ) There are even free ones out there you can use. . . so don’t be afraid – jump right in!

  3. Johan Rohyo

    Complicated is just the beginning. Citizen in America can’t do their own taxes without the help of a accountant. There are too many things to think about and if you do a mistake, that mistake can either cost you a lot of money or haunt you for the rest of your live. Tax in itself is complicated; there are many different types of taxes and different areas of tax law. The American tax system has complicated itself by adding more rules and laws without removing old laws or structuring already existing law, and to add to this mess, the tax law legislature who pass rules and legalizations usually don’t understand the area of tax law. The simplest solution for this problem, is to start all over and structure the law properly so that people can start understand and get involved with their own taxes.

  4. Anna Ahlm

    We were talking about taxes in one of my business classes, Operations Management and from what I understood it is convenient to attend courses regarding tax in America. One of my classmates tolk us she went to such a course and the following summer she educated other people how to handle their tax. My professor has worked in both Germany and the Netherlands and after class he told me about the differences regarding tax in different countries and he claimed the American system is by far the most complicated.

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