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Tax Freedom Day is five days later this year
April 15, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Tax Freedom Day this year is April 18. Last year it was April 13.
Tax Freedom Day, according to the Tax Foundation, is the day when Americans have worked long enough to pay their state and federal taxes for the year. We lucky taxpayers will shell out $2.76 trillion in federal taxes and $1.45 trillion in state taxes this year, according to the site. Taxpayers pay an average of 29 percent of their income in taxes. And that doesn't include the city and state sales taxes or, presumably, property tax that keep going up.
The date of Tax Freedom Day varies from year to year. In 2009, for instance, Tax Freedom Day came at a relatively early April 8. The latest day it arrived was May 1, back in 2000. The Tax Foundation says that taxes vary from state to state, depending on state taxes and income level.
No one likes paying taxes, least of all me. My math skills are weak under the best of circumstances and I tend to second guess myself when I'm working with various W-2s and federal and state tax forms and a calculator.
My taxes were made more complicated this year because I procrastinated and tossed the W-2s in a desk drawer for three months. When I dug them out last week I went in search of an Internet site that would let me file the taxes electronically. After it had taken me through the form entry process and nearly to the end, I discovered that it wanted to charge me $36 for the privilege of e-filing my federal and state returns. I logged off and found yet another site that advertised free filing. After it had filed my federal return, I discovered that it would not file the state return because North Dakota wasn't one of the states it worked with.
At that point I decided I would need to file a paper return with the state and went in search of a North Dakota tax booklet. Then I discovered that the local post office does not carry the state tax booklets, though it did have an entire table full of the various federal tax booklets. Frustrated in my attempt, I went home and e-mailed the state treasurer's office to mail me a tax booklet. They finally got around to putting it in the mail a couple of days later. Since I knew I would be paying in and could not expect a refund from our friends in Bismarck, I waited a few more days. After all, why should they get the money due a minute earlier than is required?
I finally dug out the forms again on Friday night and arduously filled out the North Dakota tax forms by hand. Luckily the Internet site that had filed my federal return for free had also helpfully done all the math so I just needed to copy the numbers from the computer screen onto the North Dakota tax return Then I put the forms and the check in the mail on Saturday afternoon, two days before the deadline. I probably would have waited until Monday night to do it but I knew that a winter storm was moving in and it would be difficult to get to the post office.
Our tax dollars likely do a lot of good things, so I probably shouldn't begrudge that check I wrote out to the State Treasurer. On the other hand, I can think of a lot of things I'd like to spend that money on too. How early do you think Tax Freedom Day should be next year?
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