Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Prep for Constitution Day #16

Today's Topic: More Rights & Responsibilities: the 16th, 18th, and 21st Amendments

Too smal? Click the photo.

The 16th amendment says that Congress can tax income. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is the government that collects taxes. Every year on April 15th, millions of citizens and non-citizens fill-out the 1040 Federal Income Tax form and send it to the IRS on April 15th. People must send in 540 State Tax forms, too.

Compare the IRS 1040 to the USCIS N400. Both forms ask similar questions: name, address, marital status, etc. Furthermore, the N400 not only asks about job history (Part 6B), but also asks about income tax:

  • Part 10 A 5. Do you owe any Federal, state or local taxes that are overdue?
  • Part 10 C 13. Have you ever called yourself a ''nonresident'' on a Federal, state or local tax return?
  • Part 10 C 14. Have you ever failed to file a Federal, state or local tax return because you considered yourself to be a "nonresident"?

Did you know that the most important use of a social security number is to identity a tax payer? The SSN not only identifies you as a taxpayer on the 1040 & 540, the SSN appears on your other financial papers: W-2, W-4 form, paychecks, and bank statements.

It is very, very important to keep your SSN safe and guard against identity theft. It is very very, very important to pay taxes evey year to support your local, state, and federal government.

ESL Podcast 364 – Filing Taxes
This is the first year I haven’t been exempt or filed an EZ tax return. Ricky: No problem. ... I’d like to get a tax refund, rather than have to pay. ...

VOANews: Tax Time in America
Americans must send their tax documents to the government by April 15th. But most will not have to pay anything. In fact, most Americans get money back from the I.R.S. 14 April 2006

  • 56. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?*

The 18th and 21st Amendments

18th Alcohol is illegal. (Prohibition). 1919.

21st Alcohol is legal. Each state can make laws about making, selling, and drinking alcohol. 1933.

The 18th Amendment was passed to protect the health and safety of the American people. Instead of preventing alcoholism, Prohibition contributed to the rise of organized crime. The 21st Amendment made the alcohol legal and controlled by many federal, state, and local laws.

Although a US citizen can vote at the age of 18 years, the legal drinking age can be older. In the State of California, a person must be 21 years old to drink alcohol.

On the N-400, and during the Citizenship interview, you will be asked:

The USCIS is not asking: Have you ever been drunk?

  • The USCIS is concerned that alcohol abuse prevents citizens from freely exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
  • Example: if a person is drunk when they vote, they cannot make a good decision.
  • Alcohol abuse can also lead to crimes such as drunk driving or maintaining a safe work place.

Here are some groups that help alcoholics and people affected by alcoholism:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: is an informal meeting for recovering and recovered alcoholics.

  • Al-Anon/Alateen: Al-Anon is an informal meeting for friends and family members of alcoholics. Alateen is an informal for young adullts (12-24).

  • MADD Mothers Against Drunk Driving: is a group that works to stop drunk driving, supports those affected by drunk driving, and prevents underage drinking.

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