Wednesday, April 20, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2016. On that day, Floridians are finally earning money for themselves–not for the tax collector. This symbolic date assumes that every dollar earned since January 1 goes to pay federal, state, and local tax obligations. This measure of tax burden is based on the relative size of all taxes paid in Florida to our state’s total personal income. In 2016, for the average Florida household, paying its taxes takes 110 out of 365 days, or more than three and a half months.
It takes the same number of days for Floridians to achieve taxpayer independence as it did last year, when the date was also April 20. An improving economy in Florida is producing steady, albeit modest, growth in personal income, but this economic activity is increasing tax collections as well, especially at the local level, as property values are rising again. Overall, the growth in income and taxes in 2016 is expected to be similar, resulting in Taxpayer Independence Day arriving on the same date.
Prior to this year, Taxpayer Independence Day had come later than the year before in four straight years. This caused the date to move from April 8 in 2011 to April 20 in 2015. Over the last 15 years, the latest TID came on April 28 in 2006.
Taxpayer independence will come sooner in Florida than for the average U.S. taxpayer. The Tax Foundation estimates that the national “Tax Freedom Day” will fall on April 24 this year, one day later than last year. They also estimate that if the federal debt, which represents future taxes, is included, the day would come 16 days later.
Evaluating Floridians’ tax burden on a daily basis, working 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Floridians’ Taxpayer Independence Time falls at 11:24 a.m. daily. This symbolic time comes 15 minutes later than in 2011. Satisfying federal taxes alone requires one hour and 41 minutes of the eight-hour workday. Paying state taxes requires an additional 24 minutes, and 19 minutes is needed for local tax obligations. Overall, the average Floridian works 2 hours and 24 minutes every day of the year just to pay all their taxes, the single largest expense incurred by citizens—more than food, housing and clothing combined.
Florida will contribute $274 billion in taxes to federal, state and local governments in 2016, $13 billion more than last year.