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Florida TaxWatch: COVID-19 Causes Uncertainty for 2020 Taxpayer Independence Day

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released its analysis of COVID-19’s potential impact on 2020 Taxpayer Independence Day. FTW traditionally releases its Taxpayer Independence Day report every April, recognizing the day that the year-to-date income of Floridians finally surpasses their total annual tax burden, with the assumption that every dollar earned prior to that date goes toward paying that year’s local, state, and federal tax obligations, and every dollar earned for the remainder of the year stays in the pockets of the earner. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic slowdown it has caused due to what will likely be historic reductions in government revenue and personal income collections, FTW estimated that 2020 Taxpayer Independence Day would fall on April 14, one day sooner than it arrived in 2019, meaning that Floridians’ income was expected to grow slightly faster in 2020 than it had last year. Now, FTW anticipates actual taxpayer independence in 2020 is likely to differ significantly from the pre-COVID estimate.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro said, “While Taxpayer Independence Day is typically a joyous occasion, this year it serves as yet another reminder of the economic uncertainty created by COVID-19. Much remains to be understood about the true toll this virus will take on our local, state, and national economy, but we do know that continuing to take decisive actions to cut government spending and increase revenue collections will be critically important to the recovery of Florida. Measures to properly collect owed taxes on internet sales (E-Fairness) and re-establishing a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe are solutions that could increase revenue collections by more than $1 billion annually without raising taxes on Florida families.”

Facts About Florida’s Tax Burden 

  • Floridians’ total tax burden (federal, state and local) exceeds $300 billion, or more than 30 percent of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).  Federal taxes make up 70 percent.
  • For the average Florida household, earning enough to pay its taxes takes about three and a half months.  Looking at it another way, you have to work approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes of each 8-hour workday to earn enough to pay taxes.
  • Taxes are a family’s single largest expense—more than food, housing and clothing combined.
  • Florida’s tax burden is smaller than the average American, so Taxpayer Independence Day comes earlier in Florida than nationally.
  • Florida’s state government tax burden is one of the lowest in the nation, while the local government burden is much closer to the national average.
  • If the more than $1 trillion annual federal deficit--which represents future taxes--is included, Taxpayer Independence Day would come 22 days later.

    You can read the full 2020 Taxpayer Independence Day report HERE.

About Florida TaxWatch
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute for more than forty years and the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch is supported by its membership via voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit



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