Happy Tax Freedom Day! Now you get to keep your own money.
It’s the end of May. You’ve slogged your guts out for 5 months knowing that you are providing for your family/cat/escort . Er, no. Actually for the last five months you have been working for the taxman.
Yesterday (30 May) was Tax Freedom Day, according to thinktank the Adam Smith Institute, the day on which you have ‘paid’ the equivalent of your annual tax burden, and can then genuinely spend the rest of it on yourself. Yes, that would be almost five whole months out of 12 that your money goes straight to the taxman.
This year’s taxes come to 40.8 per cent of the economy which is then converted into days of the year- working out at 149 days. This year’s date is 3 days later than last year, attributed to the VAT increase to 20% on 4 January, but is not the latest it has been- in 2006 it was 4 June and 1 June in 2007, but academic bods would still rather get the date down.
But it could be worse. If we had to fully fund our 2011 public expenditure through taxes, without borrowing, Tax Freedom Day wouldn’t be upon us until 1 July. And to pay off the National Debt? A mere 18 months hard slog per income tax paying person. The tax burden also varies by region, depending largely on incomes and employment in the different parts of the UK. Looking at income tax alone, it takes Londoners 51 days to pay their income tax bills, against just 35 days for the Welsh.
Sam Bowman, Head of Research at the Institute, grumbled: “Tax Freedom Day underlines the huge burden of government on working people’s lives. For five months of the year, we are slaves to the state...the government should resolve to make Tax Freedom Day something we can celebrate earlier and earlier each year.” Yeah right. I’m sure that’s high on the Government’s list of priorities.