British taxpayers have put in a shift of 148 days working to pay their income tax to the government this year – now they can celebrate because the rest of the cash they earn this year belongs to them.
Tax Freedom Day has steadily moved forward since 1995.
That’s the day when the average worker has notionally paid their dues to the taxman.
This year, Tax Freedom Day was May 29.
The government takes more than £700 billion a year in income tax – equivalent to 41% of net revenues.
Think tank The Adam Smith Institute calculates Tax Freedom Day each year, but has warned that if the government wants economic growth to blossom, then wages must rise, and taxes must fall.
Tax burden is wrong
“British taxpayers have worked a gruelling 148 days for the taxpayers this year. More than in any year under New Labour, and three days longer than last year. Britain’s tax burden is moving in the wrong direction,” says the institute.
As a comparison, Tax Freedom Day in the USA was April 19 – a full 39 days earlier than in the UK.
The earliest Tax Freedom Day fell in the UK was on May 1, 1996.
Cost of Government Day – which is a measure of how much Westminster spends to run the country – falls on June 21.
Although this is less than a month after Tax Freedom Day, the gap represents government borrowing.
Feudal landlords demanded less
“While it’s good news the gap is getting smaller, the money borrowed to cover the near month-long gap since Tax Freedom Day must eventually be paid off with future taxes,” says the institute.
Dr Eamonn Butler, Founder and Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said: “In the Middle Ages, a serf only had to work four months of the year for his feudal landlord, whereas in modern Britain people have to toil five months for the tax gatherers.
“It appears Britain is stuck in the past with an over-large and inefficient public sector that has cost each of us 148 days of hard labour this year, the most in over two decades.
“Since the great recession a decade ago, Britons have been economising to live within their means. Frankly, it’s about time government did too.”