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Tax Freedom Day: The average Briton ‘works for 150 days a year’ just to pay their taxes

The average British citizen works for 150 days of the year solely to pay their taxes, according to the Adam Smith Institute, organisers of Tax Freedom Day. 

The UK’s Tax Freedom Day fell on 31 May this year, one day later than it did in 2014. It is calculated by the Adam Smith Institute, and marks how many days of the year British residents would need to work just to pay their taxes. 

It is based on the money raised by HM Revenue and Customs – including direct taxes like income tax and national insurance, as well as indirect taxes such as VAT and excise duties. 

The Adam Smith Institute said that taxes accounted for 41.2 per cent of the UK’s net national income in 2015. 

The average British citizen had to work until 30 May to pay off all their taxes – assuming they paid no tax after this date. This varies hugely depending on individuals’ income, with people earning under £10,600 paying no income tax at all.

The United States’ Tax Freedom Day fell on 24 April, a month earlier than the UK’s. 

Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, said:

‘The Treasury hates Tax Freedom Day, because they don’t want us to know how much tax we really pay. They prefer to conceal the tax burden through stealth taxes and indirect taxes that we don’t even realise we’re paying. Most people are shocked to learn that the government takes over two-fifths of the country’s earnings – and then borrows more.

‘Medieval serfs had to work about a third of their time for their feudal lord, but we are in serfdom to the government for even longer. High taxes are very bad for economic growth, as talent and initiative drain abroad.’ 

Alan Mak, Conservative MP for Havant, added:

‘The ASI’s work on Tax Freedom Day reminds us that we must carry on reducing the tax burden on hardworking individuals and businesses so we have greater economic growth and individual prosperity.

‘That’s a goal I champion as a member of the new Conservative intake; income tax cuts and frozen council tax and fuel duty have so far made millions of Britons better off, but politicians must continue to look for new ways to get money back into taxpayer pockets, not out.’ 

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