On Monday, April 17, Florida TaxWatch joined the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2017. On that day, Floridians are finally earning money for themselves–not for the tax collector. This symbolic date assumes that every dollar earned since Jan. 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 2017, for the average Florida household, paying its taxes takes 107 out of 365 days, or more than three and a half months.
It will take the same number of days for Floridians to achieve taxpayer independence as it did last year, when the date was also April 17. An improving economy in Florida is producing steady, but modest, growth in personal income. 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 2017 is expected to be the same (4.7 percent), resulting in Taxpayer Independence Day arriving on the same date as last year.
Taxpayer Independence Day (TID) for Floridians arrives 11 days later than it did in 2009, when the Great Recession decimated government revenues. Despite the recent growth in tax revenue, tax independence still comes 11 days earlier than in 2006, the latest date for TID in the last 20 years. Taxpayer independence will come sooner in Florida than for the average U.S. taxpayer. Last year, the Tax Foundation estimates that the national “Tax Freedom Day” fell on April 24, a week later than Florida’s. They also estimated 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 11:21 a.m. daily. This symbolic time comes 15 minutes later than in 2009. Satisfying federal taxes alone requires 1 hour and 39 minutes of the eight-hour workday. Paying state taxes requires an additional 23 minutes, and 19 minutes is needed for local tax obligations. Overall, the average Floridian works 2 hours and 21 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 $281 billion in taxes to federal, state, and local governments in 2017, $13 billion more than last year.
Kurt Wenner, Vice President of Research. Kurt has authored all of the major tax publications produced by Florida TaxWatch, including pieces on Florida’s Intangibles Tax, and general sales, property, and business tax issues.