FAMILIES are now paying an extra €6,000 a year into the State's coffers, with the tax on their incomes jumping more than 50pc over the five years of austerity.
Massive cuts in child benefit, the introduction of the controversial universal social charge, the property tax and rising prices for everything from groceries to energy has put Middle Ireland under huge financial pressure.
Families are now at least €6,000 worse off a year due to a string of tough Budgets, an analysis by accountancy firm Grant Thornton has found.
When other changes are added in, the bill rises to €10,000 a year.
The changes in taxes and cuts to child benefit alone have seen a typical family, with both parents earning €40,000, lose €6,130 a year.
This works out at €511 a month less in spending for a family with two children and a €200,000 mortgage, which is making a modest pension contribution.
Those couples on €40,000 each have seen the tax take rise by more than 50pc.
Middle-income earners have paid a huge price to restore the country to financial stability, tax partner Peter Vale of Grant Thornton said.
A one-income couple on €40,000 now ends up with €300 less a month than they did five years ago. This works out at almost €3,600 a year.
Mr Vale said low and middle-income earners were paying the heaviest price for the €28bn in tax and expenditure cuts introduced since 2008.
"While five years of austerity were necessary to restore economic stability, it's clear that low to middle-income earners have paid a heavier price in terms of the percentage increase in taxes they pay."
He said it was no surprise that consumer spending remained weak and the strength of any economic recovery uncertain, with so much disposable income sucked out of the economy to shore up the Government's finances.
The Budget is also likely to see a reduction in tax reliefs for putting money into a pension and rises in capital gains taxes. It will be the seventh austerity Budget.
Mr Vale said: "It's also worth noting that the effective tax rate for well-off families has risen close to 40pc, with high-earning professionals likely seeing their disposable income down by a minimum of €10,000 since 2008."
Middle-income families have been hit by a string of harsh expenditure cuts and hikes in taxes and charges.
* The introduction of the universal social charge costs a typical two-income family more than €4,000 a year.
* Multiple cuts in child benefit have seen a two-child family get €864 less in these payments a year.
* The combination cost of electricity and gas has seen families shelling out an extra €460 a year in the past two years, according to energy comparison site Bonkers.ie.
* Family grocery bills are now close to €900 a year higher than two years ago, according to Consumers' Association research.
* Health insurance premiums have doubled since the start of the downturn, with the average family now paying €2,500 a year.
* Fees and charges costing up to €120 a year have been reintroduced by the main banks.
* Property tax is set to cost the average family €300 a year from January.
* Householders have also been hit by the introduction of carbon taxes, excise duty rises, changes to PRSI, higher motor tax, student registration charges and the loss of the early childhood supplement.
And taxpayers will again be forced to pay for the financial mess the country is in when Finance Minister Michael Noonan stands up to deliver his Budget a week next Tuesday.
Mr Vale said: "While there will be ongoing political debate about whether the total Budget package should be €3.1bn or a lower amount, the conclusion is still the same.
"Taxpayers will dig deeper into their pockets in 2014 than they have in any year since the crisis started."
Chairman of the Consumers' Association Michael Kilcoyne said ordinary people needed a break after enduring six austerity Budgets.
"The Government has succeeded in turning middle-income people into low-income people. There is no middle-class left outside the banks," Mr Kilcoyne said.
The latest research on the impact of austerity on families came after the Irish Tax Institute said workers in this country already paid the high rate of income tax on far more of their income than other countries.