Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Tax Freedom Day:

Each year on this date I have prepared my "Tax Calendar" and I hope bloggerdom enjoys it.

The idea is based on the concept of "Tax Freedom Day." The various governments under which we live (Federal, State, City) take a certain percentage of your income away in taxes. This could be interpreted as working a certain number of days for the government before you earn your own money. Tax Freedom Day is the day on which you complete paying for your taxes, and is a measure of how large the tax burden is - the later in the year, the higher your tax burden.

As with any of these things, there are complications if you look too closely. For example, it really depends on what State or Province you live in. In the U.S., Connecticut has the highest burden this year. In addition, because of differences in what is meant by "tax," and whether State and Local taxes are included, different people quote different dates.

I have used the date given for 2003 by the Tax Foundation.

For the first 74 days of 2003 we worked for the Federal Government, and Federal Tax Freedom Day was March 16, 2003. For the following 35 days, we worked for State Governments, and the 2003 Tax Freedom Day will be April 19, 2003.


I took the Federal Budget, sorted it from largest to smallest Department/Agency/Branch, and calculated the date of payment for each of these items. I used to do this at the program-by-program level within each item (giving time to the second), but I can't find the budget in that format anymore.

Tax Freedom Times
Social Security Administration1/12/03 8:56 PM
Health and Human Services1/24/03 10:02 AM
Treasury2/2/03 8:31 AM
Medicare2/10/03 3:00 AM
Department of Defense2/18/03 10:41 AM
Interest on the Debt2/24/03 6:33 AM
Medicaid/SHCIP3/1/03 10:03 AM
Department of Agriculture3/3/03 3:20 AM
Department of Labor3/4/03 5:05 PM
Department of Transportation3/6/03 3:56 AM
Department of Education3/7/03 12:12 PM
Office of Personnel Management3/8/03 8:12 PM
Veteran's Affairs3/10/03 2:14 AM
Defense Civil Programs3/10/03 10:44 PM
Housing and Urban Development3/11/03 6:45 PM
Department of Homeland Security3/12/03 12:23 PM
Other Independent Agencies3/13/03 12:56 AM
Department of Justice3/13/03 1:16 PM
Department of Energy3/13/03 11:57 PM
NASA3/14/03 8:35 AM
International Assistance3/14/03 4:58 PM
Department of the Interior3/14/03 11:12 PM
Department of State3/15/03 4:58 AM
EPA3/15/03 9:31 AM
Department of Commerce3/15/03 12:43 PM
Judicial Branch3/15/03 3:34 PM
National Science Foundation3/15/03 6:25 PM
Corps of Engineers3/15/03 9:12 PM
Legislative Branch3/15/03 11:18 PM
Small Business Administration3/15/03 11:39 PM
Executive Office of the President3/15/03 11:51 PM
General Services Administration3/16/03 12:00 AM

I have to note that there was an entry in the Federal Budget for "relatively uncontrollable programs" under Allowances (really! it's here in this Excel file). What on Earth is this line referring to? Tokamaks? Shiva? Luckily, the entry is zero. What a relief - this proves incontrovertibly that there are no government programs that are relatively uncontrollable. Now, somebody sternly tell those protesters to quit making a racket.

Additional bits: In the U.K. Tax Freedom Day is June 2 (http://www.taxfreedomday.co.uk). In Canada, use this calculator to figure out your burden. In Cuba and North Korea, Tax Freedom Day is December 31.


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