Policy Documents

Tax Freedom Day 2012

Joseph Henchman –
April 2, 2012

Tax Freedom Day® 2012 arrives on April 17 this year, four days later than last year due to higher federal income and corporate tax collections. That means Americans will work 107 days into the year, from January 1 to April 17, to earn enough money to pay this year’s combined 29.2 percent federal, state, and local tax bill.

If the federal government raised taxes enough to close the budget deficit—an additional $1.014 trillion—Tax Freedom Day would come on May 14 instead of April 17. That’s an additional 27 days of government spending paid for by borrowing. This year’s federal budget deficit remains high, though it has declined slightly over the past two years.

As the economic recovery continues, the growth in individual incomes and corporate profits will increase tax revenues and push Tax Freedom Day later in the year. The latest-ever Tax Freedom Day was May 1, 2000—meaning Americans paid 33.0 percent of their total income in taxes. A century earlier, in 1900, Americans paid only 5.9 percent of their income in taxes, meaning Tax Freedom Day came on January 22.