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National Perspective | Personal Finance

The Tax Man Cometh

April 14, 1998

Wednesday may be Tax Day, but the Tax Foundation says average Americans will have to work for about four more weeks before they have earned enough money this year to meet all their 1998 tax obligations.

Here is how what the Tax Foundation calls Tax Freedom Day has been edging upward. It will announce this year's Tax Freedom day, which it says will be up to four days later than last year's, on Wednesday.

Tax Freedom Day

1981: May 5

1982: May 3

1983: April 30

1984: April 28

1985: April 30

1986: April 30

1987: May 4

1988: May 2

1989: May 3

1990: May 2

1991: May 2

1992: April 30

1993: May 2

1994: May 4

1995: May 6

1996: May 7

1997: May 9

1997 Tax Burden Other groups complain that the Tax Foundation exaggerates the tax burden by, for example, estimating that the corporate income tax means that consumers pay higher prices, shareholders receive lower dividends and workers are paid less than otherwise. Here are the Tax Foundation's components of the 1997 tax burden.

Federal income taxes: 44 days

Social security and other social insurance taxes: 38

State and excise taxes: 18

Property taxes: 12

Corporate income taxes: 13

Miscellaneous taxes: 3

Total: 128

Rise in Share

However, no one disputes that the tax burden has been rising. Here, as a share of the nation's total economic output, is the total tax burden divided into two components: federal taxes and state and local taxes

Source: The Budget for Fiscal Year 1999; Historical Tables

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