Brad Feld

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6.6 Billion Hours

Apr 14, 2005
Category Random

I heard on NPR today during their series this week on income taxes that according to IRS calculations, American’s spend 6.6 billion hours doing their taxes each year.  We apparently also waste 6.6 billion gallons of gas annually while waiting in traffic, there is a 6.6 billion pound gap in AIDS funding, mail volume dropped by 6.6 million pieces in the month following the terrorist attacks in 2001, and the Pak Mun Dam cost 6.6 billion Baht (actually 6.507 billion, but the budget was 6.6 billion.)

Back to the tax thing.  According to the CIA, the current US population is 293,027,571 (estimate as of July 2005).  That’s 20.48 hours per person.  Eek (especially since all the kids under 12 in the US don’t do taxes yet.)  Now, it takes Windows 60 seconds a day to boot.  Assume there are around 200 million PCs in the US and they get booted on average of twice a day (yeah – I know – I (re)boot my various computers at least five times a day – you can have real fun with Windows Math facts if you want.)  That’s 8.30 hours per person.

So – annually, each person in the US spends 20.48 hours on taxes and 8.30 hours rebooting their computer.  Since the average household is around 2.5 people, this is 51.2 hours on taxes and 20.75 hours rebooting their computer per household per year, or three days / household wasted per year. Yeah – I know these numbers are just directionally correct, but they are the right order of magnitude. 

I love numbers – and these are just scary ones.  Good luck on your taxes tomorrow.