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Tax freedom comes late to Northeast
Come April 17, Americans, on average, will have worked enough days to pay off their 2005 taxes.
April 11, 2005: 1:01 PM EDT
By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN/Money senior writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) Like an a cappella group singing in four-part harmony, states across the country have, in staggered fashion, begun to ring in their "tax freedom day."

That's the day when a state's residents have earned enough for the year to pay their annual bill from the taxman at the federal, state and local levels combined. Not just their income taxes, but sales, property, fuel, luxury and other personal taxes, as well as the portion of business taxes that are passed along to residents through higher prices and lower wages.

Tax freedom day for the country as a whole is April 17, two days later than last year, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research group that advocates, among other things, tax simplification.

Individual tax freedom days differ because state and local taxes differ across the country.

For instance, tax freedom day for Alaska -- which is credited with being America's most tax-friendly state -- was April 2. Close behind were Alabama (April 4) and Tennessee (April 6).

At the farthest end of the spectrum, Connecticut, whose residents are among the most highly taxed in the country, will have its tax freedom day May 3.

Connecticut's neighbors are also late to the party. Many of the states with relatively late tax freedom days are clustered in the Northeast New York (April 29), New Jersey (April 25) and Massachusetts (April 24).

"In general, where the cost of living is high, and salaries are commensurately higher, taxpayers are hard hit by the federal income tax burden, and they wait longer to celebrate Tax Freedom Day," the Tax Foundation noted in its release.

How long do we work to support ourselves?

The Tax Foundation estimates that Americans will have needed to work 107 days to pay off their taxes -- 70 days to pay off Uncle Sam and 37 days to pay off his state and local brethren.

But they will spend fewer days on many essentials:

  • 65 days for housing and maintenance
  • 52 days for health and medical care
  • 31 days for food
  • 31 days for transportation
  • 22 days for recreation
  • 13 days for clothing and accessories
  • 2 days for savings
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