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Tax Freedom Day

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Americans simply hate to pay taxes. Let's face it - the nation was founded on its aversion toward paying for government services. The famous 'Boston Tea Party' was nothing more than a mob of angry of taxpayers venting their frustration against the government. 'No taxation without representation' was a rallying cry during the American Revolution.

Nevertheless, every year, each American will have to work a certain number of days just to pay his or her total tax bill. A group of patriotic Americans at the Tax Foundation have named the day after that period 'Tax Freedom Day'. This is the date on which they claim that workers have earned enough money to pay all the federal, state and local taxes that they will be assessed for in that calendar year. These taxes include individual income taxes, payroll taxes such as Social Security, sales and excise taxes, property taxes, corporate income taxes, and other random business taxes. In the year 2000, the date was 3 May.

The way the Foundation economists calculate this figure is based on the total average of taxes compared with the average American income. Some groups, including the Congressional Budget Office, charge that the calculations are skewed by using average figures instead of the more statistically appropriate median numbers.

Using the Congressional Budget Office's calculations, Tax Freedom Day would occur 25% earlier in the year - about 1 April, 2000, in the example above. However, that's still 90 days of the year in which Americans work to pay all of the taxes for which they will be assessed - a figure which many taxpayers still consider to be too high.

In another calculation, the Tax Foundation shows the number of hours in a given working day that go to pay federal, state and local taxes. Two hours and 42 minutes of an eight-hour day are required to offset the average American's tax burden.

These figures always appear in the news around 15 April, the traditional deadline for which federal income taxes must be paid to Washington DC.

While nobody at the Tax Foundation is talking about throwing tea into Boston Harbour again, their figures do make one stop and think about why the colonists fought to overthrow the crown in the first place.

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