Friday the 13th wasn't a bad luck day for Florida taxpayers after all.
Last Friday was "Tax Freedom Day" in the Sunshine State, the day on which taxpayers earned enough income to pay all their federal, state and local tax bills for the year.
Yep, it took 103 days into the year for Floridians to take care of their tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization.
Once again, state residents did better than the nation as a whole. The national Tax Freedom Day, when all Americans collectively will have earned enough to pay their tax debts, falls on April 19 this year.
Tax freedom is seven days earlier in Florida and three days sooner in the U.S. this year, the foundation said, largely due to the federal tax reform law that lowered individual and corporate income taxes.
Florida ranked 21st for its Tax Freedom day, up six places from 2017. Louisiana and Alaska were earliest, on April 4, while New York will be latest, on May 14.
Americans will pay $3.4 trillion in federal taxes and $1.8 trillion in state and local taxes this year. That's a total bill of $5.2 trillion, or 30 percent of the nation’s income, the foundation said. They will need 44 work days to pay income taxes, 15 days for sales and excise taxes, 11 days for property taxes, and six days for estate and inheritance taxes, customs duties and other taxes.
"Americans will collectively spend more on taxes in 2018 than they will on food, clothing and housing combined," said foundation analyst Erica York.
The day that Americans pay off their annual tax burden varies. The latest was May 1, 2000, when they paid 33 percent of their total income in taxes. The earliest was on Jan. 22, 1900, when they paid just 5.9 percent of their income in taxes.
By including federal borrowing, which represents future taxes owed, Tax Freedom Day would fall on May 6. The latest deficit-inclusive Tax Freedom Day occurred May 25, 1945, during the final year of World War II, the foundation said. Federal expenses have surpassed federal revenues since 2002. The budget deficit, which exceeded $1 trillion annually from 2009 to 2012, will rise from $665 billion to $806 billion this year.
Home insurance goes to dogs
Dogs are taking a bigger bite out of homeowners insurance claims payouts.
Dog bites and dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claims in 2017, totaling nearly $700 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.
California was No. 1 in the number of claims, at 2,228 and in the value of claims, at $90.4 million.
Florida — of course, Florida — ranked second in the nation with 1,345 dog bite and related claims last year. More than $60 million was paid out, for an average of $44,700 per claim that was the highest of any state in the nation.
The number of dog-bite claims nationwide increased by 2.2 percent to 18,522 in 2017, the institute found. The average cost per claim rose 11.5 percent to $37,051, or $3,821 more than in 2016. Insurers paid out $686.3 million in total claims.
"The increase in the 2017 average cost per claim could be attributed to an increase in severity of injuries,” said Kristin Palmer, the institute's chief communications officer. “But the average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 90 percent from 2003 to 2017, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs.”
Contact John Hielscher at 361-4875, fax to 361-4880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.