Tax Freedom Day® to Arrive April 17 in 2012

 
 
April 02, 2012

Deficit Adds 27 Additional Days of Government Spending

Washington, DC, April 2, 2012—Tax Freedom Day will arrive on April 17 this year, the 107th day of 2012, according to the Tax Foundation’s annual calculation using the latest government data on income and taxes. Americans will work well over three months of the year – from January 1 to April 17 – before they have earned enough money to pay this year’s tax obligations at the federal, state, and local levels.

In the new study Tax Foundation Special Report No. 198, "Tax Freedom Day 2012," economist Will McBride, Ph.D., also calculates how long Americans would have to work in order to close the budget deficit. In order to pay for all spending in the current year, the government would need to raise an additional $1.014 trillion in taxes, pushing Tax Freedom Day to May 14.

“This year, Americans will pay $2.62 trillion in federal taxes and $1.42 trillion in state-local taxes out of $13.86 trillion in income, for a 29.2% tax bill,” said McBride. “That means taxpayers will pay more in taxes in 2012 than they will spend on food, clothing, and housing combined.” 

Historically, the date for Tax Freedom Day has fluctuated significantly. The latest-ever Tax Freedom Day was May 1, 2000—meaning Americans paid 33.0% of their total income in taxes. A century earlier, in 1900, Americans paid only 5.9% of their income in taxes, meaning Tax Freedom Day came on January 22.

Five major categories of taxes dominate the tax burden. Individual income taxes – including federal, state and local – require 40 days of work. Payroll taxes take another 23 days of work. Sales and excise taxes, mostly state and local, take 15 days to pay off. Property taxes take 12 days, and corporate income taxes take another 10.

The total tax burden borne by residents of different states varies considerably, not only due to differing state tax policies, but also because of the steep progressivity of the federal tax system. This means higher-income states celebrate Tax Freedom Day later: Connecticut (May 5), New Jersey (May 1), and New York (May 1) residents face a significantly higher total federal tax burden than lower-income states. Residents of Tennessee will bear the lowest average tax burden in 2012, with Tax Freedom Day arriving for them on March 31. Also early are Louisiana (April 1), Mississippi (April 1), South Carolina (April 3), and South Dakota (April 4).

For more information, go to http://www.taxfreedomday.org.

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. To schedule an interview, please contact Richard Morrison, the Tax Foundation’s Manager of Communications, at 202-464-5102 or morrison@taxfoundation.org.

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