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UK Tax Freedom Day Clock Web Widget

Alert: (2/20/11) The Adam Smith Institute has released the 2011 UK Tax Freedom Day report, showing the UK Tax Freedom Day to be May 30.

John Gaver
February 20, 2011

John GaverFor most of 2007 and part of 2008, my wife and I lived in London (Pimlico) and we made many good friends there. We also learned first hand, just how much worse the tax burden is in the United Kingdom, than in the United States; not that the US tax burden isn't bad. It's atrocious. It's just that England's tax burden is far worse.

I mention this, because several years ago, created the very popular US Tax Freedom Clock, and since our sojourn to London, many of our new British friends have asked me if we would provide a UK version of the clock, to help draw attention to the excessive amount of taxes that Britons pay.

In the USA, an organization named the Tax Foundation has calculated and announced the date of US Tax Freedom Day every year, since 1971 and before that, it was calculated and published by Florida businessman, Dallas Hostetler, going all the way back to 1948. But we were concerned that such information for the UK might not be readily available. Fortunately, that was not the case

It took only a little research for us to discover that each year, the Adam Smith Institute publishes a report, similar to the Tax Foundation report, in which they have calculated the date on which the average UK taxpayer has worked long enough, to earn enough money, to pay all of his taxes for that year. Following the lead of Dallas Hostetler, the Adam Smith Institute refers to this date as UK Tax Freedom Day.

We initially created a JavaScript version of the UK Tax Freedom Day Clock that you see at the top of this page and it has been well received. However, you had to come to the ActionAmerica site to see it. Our newer US Tax Freedom Day Clock, which takes the form of a web widget that can be posted on other sites, has led to requests from our British friends, for us to create a UK version of this web widget.

Well folks, here it is.

It is a Flash applet, so it should work on any web site or blog that allows web widgets (object code or embed code) and display properly on all modern browsers. encourages you to share this widget with your friends, by placing it on your own web site, on your Facebook and MySpace pages and other social networking sites and in the signature of your various forum postings.

To share this widget with others, just select all of the text in one of the following boxes and copy it (Ctrl–C on a PC or Cmd–C on a Mac). Then, paste it into the HTML code of your web site, blog or forum posting (Ctrl–V on a PC or Cmd–V on a Mac), where you want the Tax Freedom Day Clock to appear on that page. That's all there is to it. Note that some blogs and forums may not allow "object" or "embed" code, though most do.

Method 1: The "object" code version, below, is most widely allowed on forum postings.

Method 2: For those sites that do not allow "object" code, you might try the "embed" code, below.

The UK Tax Freedom Day Clock web widget is a clock that counts down the months, days, hours, minutes and seconds till the next UK Tax Freedom Day or, if this year's UK Tax Freedom Day has passed, the months, days, hours, minutes and seconds that most Britons have actually been earning their own money, since UK Tax Freedom Day was reached.

Almost half a year's work lost to taxes

The Adam Smith Institute has just reported that in 2011, UK Tax Freedom Day falls on May 30. In other words, most Britons will work for almost half of 2011, just to earn enough money to pay all of their taxes for the year. This is up from last year, due to the increase in the VAT.

That's like working three to four hours of every day, for which you will NOT get paid.

Modern politicians call the work that you do for them, without getting paid, "patriotism." However, the famous American President, Abraham Lincoln, had a much better term for it. He called it by its proper name - "slavery".

So the question that you must ask yourself is, "Are the services that I receive from Her Majesty's government worth almost half of my work days, each year?"

Or to put it another way, "Are the services that I receive from Her Majesty's government worth almost half of my working life?"

How many of those lost days at work went to line the pockets of a bureaucrat or government contractor? Would you have spent any of your hard-earned money on most of those pork projects? Couldn't you provide or purchase many of those government services for yourself, at a higher quality and for much less money, leaving more money in your pocket to improve your lifestyle... that is, had the money not been taken from you in the first place? Are you getting a fair return in services, from Her Majesty's government, for all that work that you do for them - almost half of your working life? Think about it...

Calculating Tax Freedom Day

The underlying data that makes the UK Tax Freedom Clock possible comes from annual calculations by the non-partisan Adam Smith Institute, who are the unofficial keepers of the UK Tax Freedom Day.

The Adam Smith Institute uses the most unbiased method possible for calculating the national Tax Freedom Day. As you can see below, it is very straight forward:

Total Tax Revenue x 365 (or 366) days = Tax Freedom Day

Net National Income

Dividing the total of national and local taxes, by the total income of all Britons, gives us the percentage of annual UK income that goes to taxes and likewise the percentage of their work year that Britons have to work for the government to pay those taxes. Take that percentage and multiply it by the number of days in the year and you know how many days you have to work to pay your taxes for that year.

So using government data collected for 2011, the Adam Smith Institute used this method to determine that Britons pay 40.8% of what they earn in taxes. Translated into days, it means that the first full day that Britons will actually work for themselves, in 2011, will be May 30.

But for the purpose of our clocks, we needed a little more accuracy than just the date. After all, you expect a clock to tick in seconds, don't you? So when calculating to the exact second, instead of just to the day, it turns out that UK Tax Freedom actually occurs just a couple of hours before midnight on May 29 (making May 30 the first full day of Tax Freedom).

The exact time of UK Tax Freedom is May 29, at 10:04:48 PM. It's that exact moment of Tax Freedom that all of our Tax Freedom Day Clocks count down to or up from. This allows us to count down not only to the day of Tax Freedom, but to the second, so you can watch the clock, as it so slowly ticks down to or up from Tax Freedom Day.

I know that's rather sadistic to emphasize how slowly Tax Freedom comes each year. But what's more sadistic is the level of taxes that HM Revenue and Customs expect you to pay in taxes, for the paltry level of services that you receive in return.

Each year, the UK Tax Freedom Day Clock will all be adjusted, as soon as the Adam Smith Institute announces the new date. This page will also be updated to reflect the new date each year, as soon as that new date is announced. I should note that, any such change in the date is usually nominal. The greatest year to year change, since 2002, was only five days and that only happened once (see chart for 2002 through 2011 at the Adam Smith Institute).

There are a few detractors of Tax Freedom Day - almost exclusively, those who support big government - who try to convince folks that Tax Freedom Day is not representative of the average British citizen, since the rich pay a much larger percentage of the taxes that are actually collected. Interestingly, those detractors conveniently ignore certain facts. For example, while quick to point out a relatively small handful of wealthy taxpayers, the detractors meticulously avoid any mention of and even go to great lengths to keep folks from even thinking about the huge numbers of people who pay little or no tax, such as the retired, the disabled and those who live on some sort of welfare. There are a lot more of them than rich people. What about all of them?

Certainly, the detractors of Tax Freedom Day are correct in pointing out that the rich pay significantly more of the tax load. But they conveniently ignore other more important facts like, the fact that the rich also earn significantly more of the income and the fact that considering the net result of welfare, many poor people pay no tax at all (i.e. they get more in welfare payments than they spend in VAT).

The large numbers of poor, who pay NO tax or very little tax, far more than offset the effect of the very few rich taxpayers. That means that Tax Freedom Day actually comes closer to representing the average middle-class, working British citizen than either the very rich or the very poor.

This is just one example of how the detractors of Tax Freedom Day, ignore facts that conflict with their spin. But to make matters worse, they are generating more and more spin, every year, to try to hide the problem exposed by Tax Freedom Day. Just remember that those detractors are almost exclusively folks who want more government and higher taxes, rather than less - worse, some of those folks actually benefit from higher taxes.

But it get's worse. You see, the Adam Smith Institute's calculations don't include government borrowing. If it did, then the UK's Tax Freedom Day would move even further back. Either way, for almost half a year, Brits work to support Her Majesty's Government.

Some Brits will try to justify this, by telling you that they get "free" health care. But I can assure you that your healthcare is far from "free". Britons pay dearly for their healthcare, working almost half of their lives, just so they can get healthcare that’s "Good enough for government work".

While living in London, I had opportunity to visit British medical facilities, albeit at my own cost and in each case, it turned out that the British doctor was treating the symptom, rather than the cause. I only found out about that, upon visiting my US doctor, on one of my monthly trips back to the USA. I have since found out that this is very common in the UK. That's because it's most often less expensive to treat the symptom, than the cause. The British doctors get into that mode and so, even when someone who is paying his own way comes in, they forget that treating the cause is actually an option and they continue to provide less than adequate care, by choosing the less expensive government mandated option of treating only the symptom.

This leads back to the question posed above, "Couldn't you provide or purchase many of those government services for yourself, at a higher quality and for much less money, had the money not been taken from you in the first place?"

Nothing is free.

In the UK, the British people are paying a dear price for healthcare that they have been led to believe is "free". Not only are they working almost half a year, partially to pay for medical care that they believe to be free, but they're paying even more, in that they are receiving lowest cost medical care, instead of the superb care that the exorbitant amount that they are paying would appear to justify.

We want to thank our friends at the Adam Smith Institute for their annual efforts to bring us this information. If you have not visited their site, we encourage you to do so. You may be surprised at what you'll learn.

But just so our friends in England don't get to feeling too despondent about the excruciating level of taxes that they have to pay, to get "good enough for government work" services, just know that the current US regime is working hard to force US taxpayers to pay the same punitive level of taxes as our British friends, or even worse and Obamacare is destined to provide Americans with an excuse for healthcare only slightly better than medieval witchcraft. OK. I know that doesn't help ease your pain. But at least, it might make you feel better to know that you're not alone, in your suffering.

Note 1: The UK Tax Freedom Day Clock at the top of this page uses JavaScript to effect the countdown, so your browser must support JavaScript and JavaScript support must be turned on. If you don't see the days to Tax Freedom above, it's probably because either you, someone else who uses your computer or a piece of software has disabled JavaScript in your browser or although it's very unlikely, you may be using a very old browser that does not support JavaScript. Although Action America is designed to be easily used and navigated without JavaScript functionality, several features such as this one will not show up, if JavaScript is not enabled.

Note 2: We have occasionally had people contact us, early in the year, telling us that our Tax Freedom Day Clock is off by one hour. The clock has, in each case, been accurate. We want to remind our readers, who might want to check our calculations, not to forget that there is a one hour time change, between January 1 and Tax Freedom Day. Our clock counts down actual hours, rather than adjusted hours. However, if you do think that you see an error in the clock, please don't hesitate to contact us. After all, although we have tested it extensively, a minor glitch might have slipped through our testing.

Note 3: After some effort, we developed a work-around for a bug in Internet Explorer (IE), that had initially kept IE users from seeing the above clock. We tested this clock on eleven major browsers, on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms and IE was the only one that was affected. Although IE users can now see this clock, it is partially because of many standards adherence issues like this and myriad security issues in Internet Explorer, that we strongly recommend that IE users download and use either the Firefox of Safari browser. Note too, that both also load complex pages much faster than IE.


Copyright 2013 John Gaver
All rights reserved

See related articles and supporting documents:

1986-2008 IRS Collections Data by Income Category
Obama agenda drives record expatriation
Tick - Tick - Tick / The Economy Bomb
Tax Freedom Day Builds Case for FairTax
US Tax Freedom Day Clock Web Widget
UK Tax Freedom Day Clock Web Widget
US Tax Freedom Day Clock
US Tax Freedom Day Clock Widget (for Mac)
UK Tax Freedom Day Clock Widget (for Mac)
The Privacy Factor
More Attacks on the Wealthy
US Taxpatriates List
2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration & Naturalization Service (6.2mb PDF)
2003 World Wealth Report (Press Release)
American Citizens Residing Abroad (US Bureau of Consular Affairs)
Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (26 USC 877(a)(1))
Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 USC 1182(a)(10)(E))
Heroes Earnings Assistance & Relief Tax Act (Public Law 110-245) (8 USC 1182(a)(10)(E))
The Economic Impact of Replacing Federal Income Taxes
      with a Sales Tax (CATO)
Fair Tax Act of 2011 (H.R. 25)
Americans for Fair Taxation
National Retail Sales Tax Alliance

Recommended Books:

The Rich Don't Pay Tax …Or Do They?
The Fair Tax Book
Fair Tax: The Truth
How to Hide Your A$$et$ and Disappear
Escape From America

See Expatriate sites:

The Sovereign Society
Escape Artist
Expat World
Second Passports

Contact your Congressman here.


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