Tax Freedom Day is May 9, 1997

Tax Freedom Day throughout the years
*Leap year makes Tax Freedom Day appear one day early.

If you filed your taxes by April 15, congratulations—you complied with the law. But you are not free yet. Tax Freedom Day does not roll around until May 9 this year.

Tax Freedom Day is the date by which the average worker’s tax bill would be paid in full if all his or her earnings since January 1 went exclusively to pay taxes. In other words, Americans work the first 35% of the year to pay government’s bills; they work the rest of the year to meet their own and their families’ needs.

The chart shows the progression of Tax Freedom Day since 1980. For five consecutive years, Americans have worked more days to pay their taxes than in the preceding year.

Tax Freedom Day in Michigan is traditionally later than that for the nation as a whole due to Michigan’s higher-than-average state and local tax burdens. Michigan workers must labor one full day longer—until May 10—than the average U.S. worker to achieve tax freedom in 1997.

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Tax Freedom Day is calculated by the Tax Foundation , a Washington, D.C.-based educational group.

Although the average wage earner can pay his or her taxes by giving up all income earned from January 1 until May 9, that pays only for direct government costs. Additional burdens, such as mandates and regulation, consume even more of every paycheck. Average American workers toiled until July 3—Cost of Government Day—last year to pay the full cost of government.

Cost of Government Day is tracked by the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation , also located in Washington, D.C.