Tax Freedom Day


by Ted Tripp

The nationally recognized Tax Foundation has just released the date on how long into the year Americans work before they have earned enough money to pay all federal, state and local taxes.

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis for 2019, the latest year available, overall the country had a Tax Freedom Day of April 16th. The 2018 Tax Freedom Day was on April 19th, three days later, and the 2017 Tax Freedom Day was on April 22nd, even later still. The earlier Tax Freedom Day for 2019 was due in large part to President Trump’s historic tax-cutting legislation.

To break it down further, Americans in 2019 worked: 42 days to pay income taxes; 26 days for payroll taxes; 11 days for property taxes; 5 days for corporate income taxes; and 6 days to pay other taxes.

In 2019, Americans paid more in taxes than for food, clothing and shelter combined.

The latest Tax Freedom Day was on May 1, 2000, when Americans paid 33% of their hard-earned income to the taxman. In contrast, Tax Freedom Day in 1900 was on January 22 when Americans paid only 5.9% of income in taxes.

For individual states, using the 2019 data, Alaska comes in with a ranking of #1 with a Tax Freedom Day of March 25th. After that date, Alaskans get to keep whatever they earn to pay for their personal needs and enjoyment.

And Massachusetts’ ranking? The Bay State, known for its numerous taxes, came in at #43 with a Tax Freedom Day of April 23rd, seven days later than the national average. In 2018 Massachusetts was ranked at #45 with a Tax Freedom Day of April 26th, also seven days later than the national average for that year.

While not great, the current state ranking is slightly better than in the past when Massachusetts historically dwelled in the bottom three rankings.

The worst 2019 ranking, #50, was a tie between New York and Washington, D.C., with a Tax Freedom Day of May 3rd. Governor Cuomo has apparently outmaneuvered Governor Charlie Baker to pull ahead in the contest to have the highest-taxed citizens in the country. It will be interesting to see how many of those who fled New York due to the coronavirus will return to pay their taxes.

If Governor Cuomo manages to stay in office, the race to the bottom will heat up this year as both New York and Massachusetts have grand plans for onerous new taxes. Let’s not also forget that President Biden is floating the idea of a $1 trillion federal tax increase over 10 years. If all this takes place, down the road we could perhaps see – brace yourself – a Tax Freedom Day in mid-to-late May or even June.

Elsewhere, New Hampshire, which has no income tax or sales tax, did not fare as well as you might think. The Granite State ranked #35 with a 2019 Tax Freedom Day of April 19th, three days later than the national average.

To see the full list of states and rankings, go to  ♦

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