By Theresa Fry, Senior Vice President and Manager, IRA’s and Retirement Planning

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You may still be recovering from paying your income taxes, but did you know that you can now celebrate “Tax Freedom Day®” according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.  Today, American taxpayers will have earned enough as a whole to pay off their federal, state, and local income tax bill. Together we will pay a total of $5.29 trillion and we will spend more on taxes this year than we will on food, clothing, and housing!

The Tax Foundation also breaks down Tax Freedom Day by state.  If you live in Alaska, Oklahoma, Florida or Louisiana, congratulations! You are in the top four states and celebrated your Tax Freedom Day earlier, between March 25 and April 4.  If you live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island or Minnesota, unfortunately, you are in the bottom five states and still have some more work to do to get your freedom.  New Yorkers won’t get out from under their cumulative tax bills until May 3rd.

Of course, not all Americans pay the same tax rate. And let’s face it, none of us likes calculating the taxes we owe, having them withheld from our pay checks, or let alone having to write a check to pay those taxes when we’re filing our returns each year. Take some time now, at the end of this tax season, to sit down with your tax and financial advisors to be sure you are doing all you can do to reduce your taxes.

By asking some questions and taking steps now, you can take some measure of comfort in knowing you are doing all you can to keep your hard-earned dollars in your wallet.

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. does not provide tax advice.