3 hours to pay state, local insurance tax?

Tax Foundation is a font of factoids

By The Mercury

If you’re one of those individuals who celebrates Tax Freedom Day, well, the Kansas event has come and gone. It was Tuesday.

You still have national Tax Freedom Day to look forward to, or to lament. That’s a week from today, April 18 — three days after the deadline to pay income taxes.

Tax Freedom Day is calculated by the Tax Foundation using a variety of data, including federal and state budget projections and U.S. Census information. It is considered the day on which Americans have worked enough to pay all of their federal and state taxes. Tax Freedom Day in Kansas, of course, marks the toil threshold for paying Kansas state taxes.

In case you’re wondering, Tax Freedom Day this year came earliest for folks in Louisiana and Mississippi — March 19. It’s worth noting that you get what you pay for, and those two states are at or near the bottom of a lot of quality-of-life gauges. Connecticut, by the way, has the latest Tax Freedom Day — May 13.

For what it’s worth, Tax Freedom Day is five days later this year than last year, largely because the 2-percent break we were getting on FICA ended.

The Tax Foundation provides all manner of factoids about Tax Freedom Day. For instance, it takes 32 days to pay federal individual income taxes; 24 days to pay federal social insurance taxes; 12 days to pay state and local sales, excise and property taxes;  8 days to pay state and local income taxes; 3 days each to pay other federal taxes and other state and local taxes; 2 days to pay federal excise taxes; 1 day to pay state and local corporate income taxes, and 3 hours to pay state and local social insurance taxes. Whew.

The Tax Foundation also says that the $2.76 trillion in federal taxes and the $1.45 trillion in state taxes, which add up to $4.22 trillion, amount to 29.4 percent of income.

You can, of course, be outraged by all this. It’s an understandable response considering that it takes more than three months of our labor to pay all of our taxes. Especially when some of our tax money — we’ll never know precisely how much — is wasted.

Another possibility, however, is to recognize that taxes really are, as has often been said, part of the price we pay for civilization. And that Americans pay a smaller percentage of our income and gross national product in taxes than citizens of most other prosperous nations.

That’s worth remembering, even if it doesn’t make paying taxes any more enjoyable.

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