BusinessStacy M. Brown

Tax Day and the Tattoo: What Americans Would Do to Avoid Filing

Americans spend 8.1 billion hours doing taxes each year and the average person spends 11 hours and $200 completing their 1040 form, according to a new report released just ahead of the April 15 deadline to file federal income taxes.

And, as noted in a report by D.C.-based WalletHub, many taxpayers are already wondering how that will affect their finances.

Since the tax code is so complicated and has rules based on individual household characteristics, it’s hard for the average person to tell, WalletHub experts said.

And with a new tax code taking effect this year, 2019 taxes will be quite different than last year’s.

One simple ratio known as the “tax burden” helps cut through the confusion. Unlike tax rates, which vary widely based on an individual’s circumstances, tax burden measures the proportion of total personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes. And it isn’t uniform across the U.S., either.

To determine the residents with the biggest tax burdens, WalletHub compared the 50 states across the three tax types of state tax burdens — property taxes, individual income taxes and sales and excise taxes — as a share of total personal income in the state.

With a 12.97 percent total tax burden, New York has the highest burden of any state, followed by Hawaii (11.71 percent), Maine (10.84 percent), Vermont (10.77 percent) and Minnesota (10.25 percent).

Alaska enjoyed the lowest overall tax burden at 5.10 percent, followed by Delaware (5.55 percent), Tennessee (6.28 percent), Florida (6.56 percent) and New Hampshire (6.86 percent).

Maryland came in at No. 13 with an overall tax rate of 9.26 percent and Virginia finished at No. 38 with a 7.80 percent overall tax burden on residents.

The national survey from WalletHub also noted some interesting facts and quirkiness about American taxpayers, including:

• 4.6 million fewer taxpayers will get a federal tax refund this year.

• The average refund in 2019 is $2,957, as of 3/15/2019.

• Nearly one-third of people (31 percent) say their biggest Tax Day fear is making a math mistake on their taxes, topping not having enough money (28 percent), identity theft (24 percent) and getting audited (17 percent).

• 36 percent of Americans would move to a different country and 24 percent would get an “IRS” tattoo for a tax-free future.

• 50 percent of people would rather do jury duty than their taxes.

• One in 5 would prefer talking to their kids about sex.

• More than 10 percent would swim with sharks, spend the night in jail and drink expired milk.

• Fewer than 4 in 10 people are happy with President Donald Trump’s tax reforms.

• 70 percent think they benefit the rich more than the middle class.

• 89 percent of people think the government currently does not spend their tax dollars wisely.

Click here to view the full report.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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