Slaving away for the tax man

Slaving away for the tax man

April 7th, 2013 in Opinion Free Press

When you see the taxes taken out of your paycheck, do you feel like you're working for the government? Well, you should.

Tax Freedom Day, the day when the average American has earned enough money to pay all the federal, state and local taxes he or she owes to the government, falls on April 18 this year. That means the typical worker will spend 107 days working for the government in 2013.

The Tax Foundation, a D.C.-based think tank that publishes the annual Tax Freedom Day study, found that Tax Freedom Day comes five days later this year than in 2012, due "mainly to the fiscal cliff deal that raised federal taxes on individual income and payroll. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act's investment tax and excise tax went into effect."

"In 2013, Americans will pay $2.76 trillion in federal taxes and $1.45 trillion in state taxes, for a total tax bill of $4.22 trillion, or 29.4 percent of income," according to the Tax Foundation's website.

For Times Free Press readers, the news is a little better. That's because the states in this area, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and, especially, Tennessee, have lower state and local tax burdens, driving our personal Tax Freedom Days earlier than most of the rest of the country.

Last year, thanks to the state's lack of income tax and lawmakers' efforts to reduce a number of taxes, Tennesseans had the earliest Tax Freedom Day in the entire country, March 31. This year, Tennessee's Tax Freedom Day came last Tuesday, April 2. The Volunteer State finished with the third-earliest Tax Freedom Day in 2013. Only Louisiana and Mississippi residents paid less in taxes.

Tennesseans are, at long last, done paying for government and now get to pocket their hard-earned money for the rest of the year.

Alabama isn't far behind Tennessee. With a Tax Freedom Day that came two days ago, on April 5th, Alabama has the nation's seventh-earliest Tax Freedom Day.

Georgians and North Carolinians will stop working to pay taxes and start working for themselves and their families this week. Tax Freedom Day comes on April 9 in Georgia and April 10 in North Carolina.

While Georgia and North Carolina residents have to work more than a week longer than Tennesseans to pay their tax burdens, things could be worse. In Connecticut, the most highly taxed state in America, Tax Freedom Day doesn't come until the middle of next month -- May 13.

Just because our Tax Freedom Days are early relative to the rest of the country, there's little reason to celebrate.

Tax Freedom Day has been later every year since 2009, meaning Americans' tax burdens have grown each year under President Obama. Further, Tax Freedom Day only takes taxes into account, not spending. With the federal government running deficit of nearly $1 trillion again this year, Tax Freedom Day would occur on May 9 if the study included this year's federal borrowing, which represents future taxes.

In 1900, Americans paid only 5.9 percent of their income in taxes, meaning Tax Freedom Day came on January 22. This year, with Tax Freedom Day falling on April 18, the average American will pay out a suffocating 29.4 percent of their income in taxes.

Every taxpayer in America should be outraged that all levels of government have grown so large that we each work more than three months each year before we ever get to keep a dime for ourselves and our families.