Cost of Living: Americans Pay Half A Million in Taxes During Life


As the saying goes, death and taxes are the only guarantees in this world. Now, a report looks at just how much taxes people pay before reaching death. The analysis from Self Financial finds that the average American pays $525,037 in taxes over the course of their lifetime. Of that amount, the vast majority--65 percent--is taxes on earnings, while 24 percent is property taxes.

While most people are used to having taxes taken out of their paycheck every two weeks, it takes numbers like this to give some perspective on just how much we actually dole out in various taxes over the years. And the amount is still growing. "When there were 13 colonies, the average tax rate was 1-2 percent of income," says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "Now, the federal government takes about 20 percent of your income, and state and local is about 12 to 13 percent...so about 33 percent of what you earn will be taken."

That trend continues now with the Biden administration proposing a slew of new tax hikes. Norquist tells KTRH the trend is not only higher taxes, but more taxes. "It has crept up slowly, and the government has worked very hard to make it difficult for you to see it, they divide it into many, many different taxes," he says. "Capitol gains tax, death tax, social security taxes, income tax, taxes on small business, corporate income tax, high-wealth tax, a transfer tax when you buy and sell stock, etc."

And if you're fortunate, you might get some of that back at the end of each year. "When you get a refund from the government, it means you overpaid your taxes and the government kept your money all year as an interest free loan...they treated you like a sucker," says Norquist. "And then they sheepishly let you have some of it back."