NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Americans Have Worked 131 Days to Pay 1999 Taxes

May 11, 1999

Tax Freedom Day, the day of the year by which Americans have earned an amount equal to the average total tax bill for the year, falls a day later this year -- May 11 -- than last, reports the Tax Foundation. Researchers say the tax burden has grown markedly since 1993, as evidenced by the advance of Tax Freedom Day from April 30 into the second week of May.

After just six years, Americans are working 11 days more for government than before.

  • Americans will pay estimated per capita federal, state and local taxes this year of $10,298.
  • Per capita income is an estimated $28,878.
  • Thus the effective tax rate is 35.7 percent this year.

The tax burden is mainly increasing due to the continuing effects of federal tax increases enacted in the early 1990s and the tendency of the economic expansion to fill government coffers faster than Americans' pocketbooks.

By type of tax, Americans on average:

  • Worked 49 days to pay individual income taxes, the largest component of Americans' tax bills
  • Took 37 days to earn enough for payroll taxes, which fund social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
  • Worked 17 days to pay sales and excise taxes.
  • Spent another 11 days working to pay state and local property taxes.
  • Then worked an additional 12 days to pay their share of corporate income taxes -- which are ultimately paid by consumers, employees, and shareholders.

Finally, Americans spent another five days working to pay other business and miscellaneous taxes.

Now that they have earned enough to pay taxes, say researchers, Americans can start earning enough to pay smaller items in their budgets -- such as food, clothing and shelter.

Source: Patrick Fleenor & J. Scott Moody, "Tax Freedom Day to Arrive May 11 in 1999," Special Report No. 87, April 1999, Tax Foundation, 1250 H Street, N.W., Suite 750, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 783-2760.


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