Feel that? That was the yoke of oppression being taken off your shoulders. Workers of the world, rejoice! Today is Tax Freedom Day, the theoretical day when you stop working for the government and start working for yourself.

Sponsored by the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day calculates how long it would take the average taxpayer to pay off her tax obligations if she began working on Jan. 1 and spent all of her earnings to pay her entire year's tax bill.

Our day of emancipation is three days earlier than it was last year, primarily because of a slowing economy and those vaunted stimulus checks we're all watching our mailboxes for. It can't come soon enough for some businesses, either. GameStop (NYSE: GME), Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO), J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP), and General Motors (NYSE: GM) are some of the companies expecting to benefit from the windfall.

While Tax Freedom Day is here earlier this year -- and some 10 days earlier than it was back in 2000, when we didn't stop working for the Man until May 3 -- it's also a whole week later than it was in 2003, when we were released from our shackles on April 16, one day after mailing our tax returns off to Uncle Sam. How appropriate.

As nice as it is that our legislators have allowed us to keep a little bit more of the money we earn, the Tax Foundation notes that taxes will still cost more than we'll spend on food, housing, and clothing combined!

The average American taxpayer will work 74 days to pay off his or her federal tax obligation, and another 39 days to reimburse state and local tax collectors. Meanwhile, buying food requires 35 days of work, clothing 13 days, and housing 60 days.

So if there's a little more of a spring in your step at work today, it's probably because you realize that this week's paycheck will belong solely to you. Well, sort of.

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Fool contributor Rich Duprey has long paid more than his fair share; he does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.