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FREE? AVERAGE UTAHN WORKS UNTIL APRIL 27 TO PAY TAXES

While today is the deadline to file income taxes, "Tax Freedom Day" for Utahns will not arrive until April 27.

That is when the average Utahn could finally pay off all his federal, state and local taxes - if he had used all the money he had earned since Jan. 1 just for that purpose.But that is a light tax burden compared with many other states.

Tax Freedom Day arrives earlier in Utah than all but seven other states: Alaska (April 14); Mississippi (April 17); Alabama and Tennessee (April 23); Missouri (April 25); and Georgia and Louisiana (April 26).

The latest Tax Freedom Day among the states is in New York and Connecticut - where it does not arrive until May 24.

The average Tax Freedom Day for the nation as a whole is May 6 - the same as last year. (Utah's Tax Freedom Day, however, actually will come two days earlier than last year because of rising average wages in the state.)

In comparison to the May 6 national Tax Freedom Day this year, it came in 1985 (10 years ago) on April 30. In 1965 it came on April 14, and in 1945 it came on April 1.

The Tax Foundation said Americans pay 34.4 percent of their income in taxes - with 22.6 percent going to the federal government, and 11.8 percent to state and local governments.

That's up from 32.9 percent in 1985, 28.3 percent in 1965 and 24.7 percent in 1945.

The foundation says the average American this year will work 42 days to pay personal income taxes, 38 days to pay social insurance tax, 17 days to pay sales and excise taxes, 15 days to pay property and other business taxes, 12 days to pay corporate income taxes and two days for other miscellaneous taxes.

The foundation - apparently not in an effort to cheer up last-minute tax filers - also figured out what the tax bite is in the average eight-hour workday.

It says a worker requires two hours and 46 minutes a day to pay taxes - compared with two hours and 38 minutes in 1985 and an hour and 59 minutes in 1945.

If that person starts work at 9 a.m., he or she would have earned enough to pay federal taxes at 10:49 a.m. and state and local taxes by 11:46 a.m.

"We find the burden of government is very high," said J.D. Foster, executive director of the foundation.

The foundation also said taxes remain the single largest category of personal expenditures for the average American.

"To put the size of the tax bite into perspective, American workers spend more of their day working to pay taxes than they do on food/tobacco, clothing and housing combined," the foundation report said.

Compared with the 2:46 spent each day to pay taxes, the average worker spends an hour and 21 minutes to cover housing costs; 51 minutes for food and tobacco; and 21 minutes for clothing.