Uncle Sam

What is ‘Uncle Sam’

A nickname dating back to 1812 used to refer to the U.S. government. The term is said to come from “Uncle Sam” Wilson, who provided barrels of beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. The barrels were stamped “U.S.” to indicate that they were government property, but they came to be associated with Wilson’s nickname, and eventually “Uncle Sam” became a nickname for the U.S. government.

Explaining ‘Uncle Sam’

The most popular visual representation of Uncle Sam is a cartoon image drawn by James Montgomery Flagg in 1916 of a white-haired, bearded, Caucasian male dressed in a patriotic top hat and jacket for a U.S. Army recruitment poster with the words “I Want You.” The term is commonly used by financial writers, often in conjunction with discussions of income taxes.

Uncle Sam FAQ

What is taxable income and what is the formula for determining taxable income?

Basically, it’s your total, gross income minus allowable personal exemptions and deductions. The individual tax forms — 1040EZ, 1040A or 1040 — are filters to help you to reach the smallest taxable income level.

What is the formula for calculating taxable income?

Your adjusted gross income minus any standard or itemized tax deductions, any tax exemptions you are entitled to, like a dependent exemption. Once you’ve subtracted any tax form adjustments, deductions, and exemptions from your gross income, you’re left with your taxable income figure.

Is your tax rate based on gross or net income?

The rates are for taxable income—adjusted gross income minus either the standard deduction or allowable itemized deductions. Income up to the standard deduction (or itemized deductions) is taxed at a zero rate. Federal income tax rates are progressive: the tax rates are higher as taxable income increases.

What percentage does Uncle Sam take?

6.2% of your check with be withheld for Social Security monthly, and 1.45% for Medicare taxes. Reducing your taxable income at the end of the year means you’re entitled to a refund on any money paid to cover these expenses.

Can you claim allowances on the 2020 w4?

Withholding allowances are gone. Employees filling out the 2020 Form W-4 can’t claim withholding allowances.

What does non taxable annual income mean?

Nontaxable income won’t be taxed, whether or not it’s entered on your tax return. The following items are declared nontaxable by the IRS: Inheritances, gifts and bequests. Cash rebates on items you purchase from a retailer, manufacturer or dealer.

How much is taken out of my paycheck in Ks?

Income tax rates in Kansas are 3.10%, 5.25% and 5.70%. There are no local income taxes on wages in the state, though income from other sources, like interest or dividends, incur taxes at the local level.

Further Reading

  • When Uncle Sam Introduced Main Street to Wall Street: Liberty Bonds and the Transformation of American Finance – www.nber.org [PDF]
  • Uncle Sam rising: Performance implications of business-to-government relationships – journals.sagepub.com [PDF]
  • The federal government's implied guarantee of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's obligations: Uncle Sam will pick up the tab – heinonline.org [PDF]
  • An open letter to Uncle Sam: America, pray leave Somalia to its own devices – www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
  • Ask for Help, Uncle Sam: The Future of Global Tax Reporting – heinonline.org [PDF]
  • “Uncle Sam is to be sacrificed”: Anglophobia in late nineteenth-century politics and culture – www.tandfonline.com [PDF]