ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

income tax in the us

Okay, so imagine you have a big jar of candy, and you love sharing your candy with your friends. But you also know that you need to save some of your candy for later, so you can have some for yourself.

The government works kind of like that, instead of candy, they collect money from people who make money. They call it income tax. The government needs this money to pay for things like roads, schools, and hospitals.

When people work and make money, they have to pay a little bit of that money to the government. This is called a tax. Just like you might give some of your candy to your parents to save for you, people have to give a little bit of their money to the government to save up for things later.

The amount of money you have to pay in taxes depends on how much money you make. If you make a lot of money, you have to pay more taxes. But if you don't make as much money, you don't have to pay as much in taxes.

Each year, people fill out something called a tax return. This tells the government how much money they made in the previous year and how much they owe in taxes. If they paid too much in taxes during the year, they get some of that money back. But if they didn't pay enough, they have to send extra money to the government.

So, income tax is like giving some of your candy to the government so they can help make sure important things get paid for, like schools and hospitals.