The Tax Foundation released its annual “Tax Freedom Day” report this week, which purports to show how far into the year people have to work to make enough to pay their local, state, and federal taxes. The report says this year’s date is April 13th.
North Carolina’s alleged tax freedom day is April 9th, ranking the state 25th in the country. The report is a favorite rhetorical tool of the anti-government folks, with its loaded title and claim that Americans work “three and half months just to pay their taxes.”
Many news outlets tell their audience directly that tax freedom day is simply how long they have to work to pay their taxes, which is a seriously misleading claim in a report based on significantly flawed methodology, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities makes clear in a recent analysis.
The Tax Foundation itself acknowledges this issue in a methodology paper accompanying its report, pointing out that its estimates reflect the “average tax burden for the economy as a whole, rather than for specific subgroups of taxpayers.
So it’s likely that April 9th is not your tax freedom day, even if you buy into the anti-tax sentiment implicit in the whole idea.
Isn’t the fact that we pay taxes part of the reason that we have freedom and the lifestyle we enjoy? Maybe we should come up with a name for the day that the Tax Foundation issues the report, like “Misleading tax claims day.”