Tax Freedom Day: It’s time to pay yourself


For the past three and a half months, you’ve been working for Uncle Sam and his state counterpart. Let’s call her Auntie Aloha. Today, you start working for yourself.

Today is Tax Freedom Day in Hawaii, the day the average taxpayer has earned enough money to pay off all his or her federal, state and local taxes for the year. Coincidentally, today is also the deadline to send in your federal income tax returns.

Hawaii, coming in 25th, is smack-dab in the middle of the states as far as tax burden, according to The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research think tank based in Washington, D.C.

“I think where we are is not a bad place,” said Tom Yamachika, interim president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, which is not formally affiliated with the federal nonprofit.

“The state has been called ‘tax hell,’” Yamachika said of its reputation, deserved or not, for high taxes.

States with the lowest tax burden are Louisiana, which had a March 31 Tax Freedom Day, Mississippi (April 2) and South Dakota (April 4). The highest average tax burdens are in Connecticut (May 9), New Jersey (May 9) and New York (May 4).

This year, national Tax Freedom Day is April 21, three days later than last year due mainly to the continuing economic recovery, which will boost federal tax revenue collected through the corporate, payroll and individual income tax, the Tax Foundation said.

Last year, Hawaii was 24th, celebrating Tax Freedom Day on April 14, compared to the nation’s April 15. Hawaii’s rank has fluctuated from its most onerous of 5 in 1990 and 1991 to its highest of 31 in 1984, according to data from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Americans will spend more on taxes this year than they will spend on food, clothing and housing combined, the Tax Foundation says.

Tax Freedom Day is calculated using federal budget projections, U.S. Census and U.S. Bureau of Economic analysis data and projections of state and local taxes. Tax Freedom Day was created in 1948 by Florida business executive Dallas Hostetler.