This is a painful time to think about taxes. Like many of you, my wife and I have in recent days been scurrying around to finish our tax returns in time for the April 15 deadline.
But there is some good news: Few of us can remember a time when the tax burden was lower, compared to what we earn. I know that is counter-intuitive. It certainly doesn't feel that way.
But years of tax cutting have left us with a lower tax burden. First there were the Reagan tax cuts. Then the Bush tax cuts. Then there were the Obama tax cuts — about a third of the stimulus package passed by Congress last year was in the form of tax cuts.
The Tax Foundation, a conservative, Washington-based, nonprofit organization created in 1937, each year announces what it calls Tax Freedom Day. That is the day when you have worked long enough to pay for all of your federal, state and local taxes. The rest of the year you get to keep what you have earned.
This year Tax Freedom Day is Friday, the foundation announced last week. That's one day later than last year. But it is among the earliest days in decades. The last two years represent the earliest Tax Freedom days since 1964, according to the Tax Foundation. It is much sooner than in 2000, before the Bush tax cuts, when Tax Freedom Day was May 1.
In North Carolina, Tax Freedom Day is two days earlier — Wednesday — than for the country as a whole.
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