Idaho’s ‘Tax Freedom Day’ arrives Tuesday, nine days ahead of national date

Idahoans will have made enough money to pay off their local, state and federal tax obligations for 2013 on April 9, well ahead of the national date of April 18.

So says the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, which holds a registered trademark for “Tax Freedom Day,” an annual analysis of average tax burdens.

Louisiana and Mississippi crossed the threshold on March 29, the earliest in the country, says the foundation.

The latest? Connecticut, on May 13.

Friday’s news release from the foundation follows:

Tax Freedom Day® Arrives in Idaho on April 9th

Residents of the Gem State Celebrate Earlier Than National Date of April 18th

Washington, DC, April 5, 2013—Tax Freedom Day, the date on which Americans will have earned enough money to pay this year’s tax obligations at the federal, state, and local levels, will fall on April 9th for residents of Idaho. The nationwide date for all Americans, as announced this week by the Tax Foundation, is Thursday, April 18th.

In the new study, “Tax Freedom Day 2013,” economists Will McBride, Ph.D., Elizabeth Malm, and Kyle Pomerleau, also calculate 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 $833 billion in taxes, pushing Tax Freedom Day to May 9.

“This year, Americans will pay $2.764 trillion in federal taxes and $1.459 trillion in state-local taxes out of $14.366 trillion in income, for a 29.4% tax bill,” said McBride. “That means taxpayers will pay more in taxes in 2013 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 25 days of work. Sales and excise taxes, mostly state and local, take 13 days to pay off. Property taxes take 12 days, and corporate income taxes take another 9.

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 13), New York (May 6), and New Jersey (May 4) residents face a significantly higher total federal tax burden than lower-income states. Residents of Louisiana and Mississippi will bear the lowest average tax burden in 2013, with Tax Freedom Day arriving for them on March 29. Also early are Tennessee (April 2), South Carolina (April 3), and New Mexico (April 3).

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Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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