Part of Lesson Plan: Why Pay Taxes?
Activity Overview / Details
Step 1: Say: "There is an economic role for government to play in a market economy whenever the benefits of a government policy outweigh its costs. The government provides public goods and services for the community as a whole. To pay its bills, the government needs revenue, or a source of income. The money that the federal government uses to pay its bills comes mostly from taxes. Taxes shift resources from private individuals and businesses to the government. Governments often provide for national defense, address environmental concerns, define and protect property rights, and attempt to make markets more competitive. Most government policies also redistribute income."
Step 2: Open and view the "Your Role As a Taxpayer" slide show
- This is a slide show developed by the IRS
Go over the slides, explaining each slide
Items in Slide Show:
- "Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society" - Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr.
- Taxes fund public goods and services
- Early Taxes
- The Power to Collect Taxes
- The Federal Government Dollar - Where It Comes From
- The Federal Government Dollar - Where it Goes
- How Taxes Evolve
- Voluntary Compliance
- Tax Avoidance vs Tax Evasion
- Taxpayer Rights
- Al Capone
Note: this is a good place to invite student feedback and questions
Note: The slide show ends with a picture of, and a note about, Al Capone being sent to jail for Tax Evasion
- This is a good place to verify that students know who he was and why this was significant. But make it brief. It is related to the topic, but could easily become a time wasting bird walk.
Step 3: Using Think/Pair/Share posing the directions: State one government service or product that you believe is important enough to use taxpayer dollars to fund.
Step 4: Say: This was a brief overview. It is a good place to start. Now you will do some reading on your own to gather more information.
Materials / Resources
- Your Role As A Taxpayer - PowerPoint [ Download ] Slide Show Presentation developed by the IRS outline the role Taxpayers
- Think Pair Share [ Go to Site ] Resource site explaining the "Think-Pair-Share" process
- illustration of tax folder [ View Image ] [ Download Original ] An illustration of a tax folder to use in documents and the lesson as desired