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Florida residents pay off collective tax burden

Posted at 3:33 PM, Apr 20, 2016
Starting Thursday, each dollar a Florida resident makes goes back to them, not the the government.
 
That's according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research foundation that releases an annual report on Tax Freedom Day.  
 
Florida's Tax Freedom Day, April 20, is the day when taxpayers in the state have collectively earned enough money to pay their federal, state, and local tax bill for the year. This makes it the 29th state to reach Tax Freedom Day in 2016.
 
This year, Americans will work the longest to pay federal, state, and local individual income taxes (46 days). Payroll taxes will take 26 days to pay, followed by sales and excise taxes (15 days), corporate income taxes (nine days), and property taxes (11 days). The remaining seven days are spent paying estate and inheritance taxes, customs duties and other taxes.
 
"Tax Freedom Day gives us a vivid representation of how much federal, state, and local tax revenue is collected each year to pay for government goods and services," said Tax Foundation Analyst Scott Greenberg. "Arguments can be made that the tax bill is too high or too low, but in order to have an honest discussion, it's important for taxpayers to understand the cost of government. Tax Freedom Day helps people relate to that cost."
 
Tax Freedom Day is calculated by taking all federal, state, and local taxes and divides them by the nation's income. 
 
In 2016, Americans will pay $3.34 trillion in federal taxes and $1.64 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total tax bill of $4.99 trillion, or 31 percent of national income.  
 
That's hitting people like Jeana Miller, a Wesley Chapel resident, hard. She is hardworking and was just promoted at her office job, but remains crippled by the taxes she owes each year. Her family owes between $1,200 and $2,000 in taxes yearly, despite trying to work with the IRS to adjust her deductions.
 
"It's like a continuous payment that never really goes away," she said. "You always end up having to withdraw from it to try and pay and catch up."
 
She's even had to dip into her family's 401K retirement account to pay the tax bill.
 
This is the first year she has not owed, but is still paying the IRS for previous years.
 
If you are struggling to pay your tax bill, you have some options.
 
If you owe taxes, but can’t pay the IRS in full, consider submitting an Installment Agreement Request (Form 9465) with your return. In certain situations, the IRS can’t deny a request for an installment agreement if you owe less than $10,000. 
 
That said, you should still pay as much as you can with the return. You will be charged interest and possibly a late payment penalty on any tax not paid by its due date, even if your request for an installment agreement is approved. You can avoid IRS collection notices and actions, like a Notice of Federal Tax Lien or an IRS levy, by establishing an installment agreement upfront and making your installment payments. 
 
If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the agency's Fresh Start initiative.