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3 Months Into 2014, You're Likely Still Working for the Tax Man

person hold an empty wallet
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Between income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes and all those other taxes, the amount of your income that flows into government coffers adds up quickly.

One way to think about its is to figure out how much of your working year goes to covering your taxes. The conservative-leaning Tax Foundation calculates annually how many working days it takes for the average American worker to earn enough to pay all his federal, state and local taxes, plots it on the calendar, and dubs it "Tax Freedom Day."

Last year, that day was April 18, reflecting that Americans on average paid 29.4 percent of their income in federal and state taxes. But that date varies widely from state to state.

Early Freedom From Taxes

Residents in different states see varying percentages of their income go toward taxes for a variety of reasons. State tax rates vary. So does relative income, with less prosperous states tending to pay lower federal tax rates than those with more high-income taxpayers.

The lowest-tax states in 2013 were Louisiana and Mississippi, whose Tax Freedom Days were both March 29. All five lowest-tax states were in the South, with Tennessee, South Carolina and New Mexico rounding out the top five.

All five take a relatively low percentage of their residents' income in state and local taxes. Most rely on sales taxes; South Carolina's the exception, with a high level of revenue from property taxes. Louisiana and Mississippi boast the highest percentage of federal aid of any state, getting back from Washington far more than they send to it.

Paying More Tax, into May

At the other end of the spectrum, Connecticut residents took the longest to account for their taxes in 2013, with a Tax Freedom Day of May 13, outlasting No. 2 New York by a full week. The Northeast dominated the top of the list, with New Jersey and Massachusetts coming in third and fourth, and Illinois taking No. 5.

Most of these states are among the highest in terms of state and local taxes paid per person, reflecting their relative wealth. All five also take more than 10 percent of their residents' income in the form of state and local taxes, with New York exceeding the national average by almost 3 percentage points.

Property and state income taxes make up a huge portion of the revenue sources for these states, taking advantage of the extensive property holdings and high income that their residents enjoy.

What's Your Tax Freedom Day?

A Tax Foundation map shows the 2013 Tax Freedom Day for your state. The announcement of Tax Freedom Day 2014 is expected to come soon.

You can follow Motley Fool contributor Dan Caplinger on Twitter @DanCaplinger or on Google+.

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Cities with the Highest Tax Rates

Much ado is made in the press about federal tax brackets, but cities can carry a tax bite of their own. Even if you live in a state that has no income tax, your city may levy a variety of taxes that could eat away the entire benefit of living in an income tax-free state, including property taxes, sales taxes and auto taxes. Consider all the costs before you move to one of these cities, and understand that rates may change based on your family's income level.

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.

A Freelancer's Guide to Taxes

Freelancing certainly has its benefits, but it can result in a few complications come tax time. The Internal Revenue Service considers freelancers to be self-employed, so if you earn income as a freelancer you must file your taxes as a business owner. While you can take additional deductions if you are self-employed, you'll also face additional taxes in the form of the self-employment tax. Here are things to consider as a freelancer when filing your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Voluntary Interest Payments on Student Loans

Most taxpayers who pay interest on student loans can take a tax deduction for the expense ? and you can do this regardless of whether you itemize tax deductions on your return. The rules for claiming the deduction are the same whether the interest payments were required or voluntary.

Tax Tips for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and other Car Sharing Drivers

When you're a driver for a ride-sharing company such as Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, or other car sharing service, the most important thing to understand about your taxes is that you are probably not an employee of Uber, Lyft or Sidecar. Drivers for these companies are usually independent contractors, a fact that has tax implications, both at filing time and year-round.

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The government is supposed to work for us but now they feel that we work for them.

March 31 2014 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just keep voting in these spending liberal democrats who think they can save the world by taxing us and spending on those (many too lazy to work) who choose to sit at home.. the few that need it... are ignored and NO enforcement is taken to week out the wheat from the chaff !!! And watch your tax dolars be wasted.

March 31 2014 at 2:07 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hi RON's comment

We now have 2 classes of people in America:

1) Those who vote for a living (apparently, they now outnumber the second class)
2) Those who work for a living

Any bets on how long it'll be before the second class stops, puts down the yoke and walks away?

March 31 2014 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Makes you wonder whether you work for your employer, or the government? I'm sure there are also taxes paid that aren't included.

March 31 2014 at 1:50 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Odd way the Fed has confirming the poor job market. What is odder is the where the shovel ready jobs are located.

March 31 2014 at 12:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The young know most of them do not make enough to pay tax but they also know they do not need health care insurance because they will likely be drafted for WWIII and get VA benefits.

March 31 2014 at 11:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Yellen basically said not much has changed so the markets rallied!

March 31 2014 at 11:46 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Fed statement assured the markets nothing has changed.

March 31 2014 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Part time, low wages, longterm unemployed, and millions forced out of the labor force while the 1% invest off shore means big tax losses.

March 31 2014 at 11:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You're not working for the tax man - you're paying for roads, schools, police, emergency services, a court system and THE MILITARY!!!!! And you're paying off the Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts that went to rich people that didn't need them. Stop acting like taxes are being stolen from people.

March 31 2014 at 10:40 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply