Tax Freedom Day hits this week in Missouri

Government agencies can relax. At the end of the day on Monday, Missourians had earned enough money to pay all of their federal, state and local taxes for this year.

But if Missouri taxpayers want to continue eating and paying their other bills, they’ll just have to keep on working.

The Tax Foundation calculates Missouri’s Tax Freedom Day this year is the 18th earliest Tax Freedom Day to arrive of all 50 states.

The average date for all Americans doesn’t come until April 12, Missouri sneaked in earlier on April 4, indicating Missouri’s income and perhaps also its state and local taxes are slightly lower than most other states.

“The national date for Tax Freedom Day this year,” said Tax Foundation Staff Economist Kail Padgitt, “is later than last year largely because of income changes rather than statutory tax law changes.”

Padgitt said rising income of individuals pushes them into higher tax brackets and corporate tax revenue also is increasing.

The federal estate tax has returned after a one-year repeal. This tax imposes taxes at a rate of 35 percent — but the first $5 million is exempted.

Because of low income and modest state and local tax burdens, Mississippi celebrates Tax Freedom Day on March 26th, the first in the nation.

On the other end, the last state to celebrate Tax Freedom Day this year is Connecticut on May 2. High-income states like Connecticut pay higher federal taxes and often higher state and local taxes as well.

The official government figure for total tax collections is divided by the nation’s total income. This year, taxes will amount to 27.68 percent of our income, the same percentage of the year accounted for by the 102 days from Jan. 1 to April 12.

Michael T. Devine, Missouri spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, said so far the IRS has received 1.7 million federal income tax returns from Missourians, about 64 percent of the total.

The number of Missourians filing electronic returns continues to increase. So far 1,753,600 Missourians have filed federal returns and 1,444,800 of them are electronic returns. Only 308,800 Missourians have filed paper returns.

Devine reminded Missourians they have until April 18 to file a return this year. The extra weekend is available because a District of Columbia holiday affects taxpayers nationwide. The federal and state income tax filing deadline for 2011 is Monday, April 18, instead of April 15.

Nationwide, the average federal tax refund so far is $2,952. That’s $26 less than last year.

The number of Americans who have filed electronic returns is 71,067,000, up 6.8 percent from last year.

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