Hi! Income tax is tax paid on money you earned from working or from investments. Federal tax is levied by our Federal government and requires that you file yearly using Form 1040 or variations of that form. Most state of the U.S. (except for Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming) change state income as well on money you earned from working or from investments. You file a different form to report those earnings and pay those taxes.
This website (https://www.whitehouse.gov/2014-taxreceipt) shows what the Federal government uses your tax money for. The two biggest categories are Medicare/Medicaid and national defense. Each state has a similar website where you can see where your taxes go. I try to imagine that my own particular tax dollars are used for meaningful things like food for a needy child or a prosthetic leg for a veteran instead of less “meaningful” things like printer cartridges or catering for government award dinners.
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