A Taxing Issue - Reading Comprehension
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A Taxing Issue Reading Comprehension
A Taxing Issue reading comprehension (sample is shown below)
A Taxing Issue
By Brenda B. Covert
1 You may have noticed--whether you have bought music, candy, or clothing--that the price on the tag is not the price you pay. The item may be marked as 99¢, but when the cashier rings it up for you, the cost has risen to more than a dollar! You are charged a sales tax. How much above one dollar you pay is determined by the state in which you reside. Each state sets its own percentage to collect for sales tax. It may be as low as 4% or as high as 9%. The most common is 5%.
2 Sales tax is just one type of tax that we are required to pay. A tax is money that a government collects from people and businesses. Tax money pays the wages of politicians and other employees of local, state, and federal governments. It goes toward building new roads and repairing old ones. It goes toward maintaining state and national parks, programs to help the needy, public libraries, the public school system, prisons, and our military. Were you aware that every program our government creates is funded by our tax dollars? Nothing is truly free; someone pays the cost. Sometimes our government offers tax breaks--that is, a tax deduction granted in order to motivate businesses and individuals to behave in certain ways.
3 Taxes are not a modern invention. Governments have been taxing people for thousands of years! The inscription on an ancient clay tablet found in what is now Iraq gives us a clue to the people's feelings about taxation: "You can have a lord, you can have a king, but the man to fear is a tax collector." Ancient Egyptians paid taxes on everything they owned. Can you imagine a tax collector walking into your room and counting the CD's in your music collection, your video games, the money in your wallet, and your pets--and then handing you a bill for what you owe the government for the privilege of owning those things? That's the sort of thing people had to put up with in the past. In some cultures, anyone who didn't pay his taxes could be beaten or sold into slavery. Today, if you don't pay your taxes or if you lie about what you owe, you could go to jail.
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