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Half Of All Americans Pay No Income Tax

Today’s the deadline for filing your federal income tax return.

That means the news will be focused on demonstrators loudly denouncing President Obama and Congress for taking — and wasting — all of their money.

Tax protestors But who really pays personal income tax in this country?

According to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization, nearly half of all households will owe no federal income tax at all this year.

Tax credits for low- and middle-income families have grown so generous over the past decade that a traditional family of four can now earn as much as $50,000 and still have a big fat zero where it says “Amount You Owe” on their tax return.

It’s the most affluent Americans who shoulder most of the burden.

The 10% of households with the highest incomes pay nearly three-quarters of all income taxes.

So unless those demonstrators are neurosurgeons, CEOs and investment bankers we aren’t sure what they’re screaming about.

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Comments (18)
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18 Existing Comments
  1. Terrin said:
    on April 15th at 07:01 am

    I make about fifty thousand a year. About thirty percent of my check goes to some government agency.

  2. Bob R. said:
    on April 15th at 10:17 am

    And there’s the real problem, Terrin. You know that 30% of your paycheck is being withheld, but you don’t know for what. You say it’s going to some government agency, but you don’t know which ones. And I’ll bet that a big chunk of that 30% is actually being withheld for your health insurance, dental insurance, maybe even your 401(k).

  3. Ben said:
    on April 15th at 03:35 pm

    If that were the case then he would have been incorrect in saying that it was going to a government agency…

    I’m guessing that it is much more likely that he was speaking of State Taxes, Federal Taxes, and Social Security. I’m not sure of the exact proportions of my income that go to each of these things, so I can’t fault him for not knowing either.

  4. Terrin said:
    on April 15th at 08:57 pm

    I am 45 years old and don’t have health insurance. I can’t effort a meaningful policy. By that, I mean one that I still wouldn’t have declare bankruptcy is something serious happened to me. Most policies that I could effort have something like a 80/20 split. So, the insurance company will pay 80 percent, and you will pay twenty. If your bill is a hundred thousand. You are stuck paying a deductible and twenty thousand. On my salary that would be tough.

    I do have a Simple Employer sponsored IRA where it matches three (3) percent of my income. I, however, didn’t include that in the thirty (30) percent that is being taken by government agencies. I literally meant about thirty percent goes to some form of government.

    My overall point was that you don’t have to be super rich to feel taxes. I consider myself to be one of the few remaining members of the middle class.

  5. Terrin said:
    on April 15th at 09:01 pm

    I’d also like to point out that anybody who is retired and is living solely on Social Security wouldn’t pay any form of income tax. I suspect that a lot of people fall into that category.

  6. Justin said:
    on April 16th at 01:59 am

    That is total bs. I only made around 10k and I still paid a few hundred in federal taxes.

  7. Bob R. said:
    on April 16th at 08:44 am

    Yeah, but you didn’t pay a dime of federal INCOME taxes, Justin. The federal taxes you paid were to support the big entitlement programs primarily for the oldsters — Social Security and Medicare. Three-fourths of all Americans pay more in Social Secuirty and Medicare taxes than they do in income taxes.

  8. Justin said:
    on April 16th at 03:43 pm

    @ Rob: That is not true. Aside from the few hundred in federal taxes. There was also additional money that was withheld for social security and disability insurance, etc. The federal taxes paid is an INCOME tax.

  9. Alan said:
    on April 17th at 11:35 am

    If the IRS gives me an amount back on my taxes does that mean that I am getting all the money that was taken out of my check for the following year? Maybe and maybe not. The fact that I get a refund from the IRS does not mean I did not pay taxes. It means that is the amount I am entitled too because of the deductions. Don’t assume that just because someone gets a refund that they have not paid their taxes.

  10. Terrin said:
    on April 17th at 09:36 pm

    If it comes out of my income on account of the government, I consider it a tax.

  11. dingo said:
    on April 18th at 11:02 am

    Just becuase money is withheld from your paycheck for income taxes doesn’t mean you actually winding up paying income taxes. The fact that more is withheld than people wind up owing is why so many people get refund checks. I have to figure Justin got a refund for the amount that was withheld because virtually no one, not even singles, who make $10,000 a year pay income tax.

  12. Justin said:
    on April 19th at 02:26 am

    I had approximately 500 in federal withheld, and I was refunded 300. I filed dependent and single.

  13. Lorraine said:
    on April 19th at 02:42 pm

    You know what? I’m tired of hearing about how the “affluent” Americans need to shoulder the burden!! At least most of these people are WORKING!!

    Instead, we need to get the illegals out of here so they can stop syphoning our money, and get the generational welfare lazy-asses (the majority of whom comprise the the group that voted 99% plus for Obama) up off their butts and into MANDATORY full time jobs!!

    NO MORE FREE RIDES FOR THE ELECTIVELY LOWER CLASSES. You want what the “haves” have? Try working as hard as they do!!

  14. Kevin said:
    on April 20th at 11:37 am

    Problem with our tax system is that both Just an Terrin could have likely paid near 0 in taxes if they knew how to manipulate the tax rules to their benefit.

  15. gary said:
    on April 21st at 12:32 pm

    mr 80/20 heal insurance. read the policies better, yes they have 80/20 but there is a cap on that, usually around 5000.00. Which means you’d be out 1000 bucks only. Beyond that you would be 100% covered. Instead you’ve chosen to take the emergency room route to get covered, which means your health care is is not wellness care, so you are more likely to have deterimental health incidents would might have been caught in a routine exam. At that point, if you have any assets, the hospital who was forced to treat you for free should be entitled to sieze them.

    Mr get the illegals out…Are you an american indian? If not you are here as a visitor too, so perhaps you should consider living in another country. We need to do away with illegals by making immigration legal, not kicking people out. By making them legal and collecting taxes from them, it will reduce all of americans tax burden. Immigrants are not taking away american jobs. They are working jobs Americans are too lazy to do themselves. In fact if you remove them you will remove 1000’s of legal american’s current jobs. Who sells them housing, clothing and food? Who fixes their cars, teaches their children etc.
    see http://www.9500liberty.com/
    In this documentary the immigrants all left a town and the town’s economy suffered greatly.

  16. Rik said:
    on April 22nd at 03:52 pm

    this article is not completely accurate. While you can say the richest pay the most, its not entirely true. the number of richest are few in comparison to the lower middle class. I could go on and on, dealing with deductions, credits, etc etc etc, but when you look at who pays the most in comparison to how much they have, the single lower middle class person is hit the hardest. That person does not have the finances to have a home or family and therefore the fewest deductions, and usually the tax tier they fall in barely puts them into the next tax bracket. Also the leap from the second to the third tax bracket (which is where the lower middle class falls) is the highest. That is who feels the weight of taxes the most. The rich do not feel it, and have plenty of deductions so in the end that is why their tax bracket is the the highest, because they can bring down their amount owed by while the ones that statically have the fewest deductions are those middle class single people.

  17. lucy said:
    on January 18th at 05:31 pm

    a single mother I know who works with me files her federal return.
    She make about $14000. per year a has 3 children, she get a $9000 federal income tax return. What is wrong with this senerio……
    My husband and I work and make $95000. and file a return and usually end up owing another $5-6 k.

  18. A.Bundy said:
    on September 14th at 03:20 pm

    your article makes no sense and is aggravating. taxes are deducted off your salary by your employer unless you are self employed. why would you have to pay more if you already paid? why would you owe? like being a SLAVE to the corporation isn’t enough…then there’s being a SLAVE to the gob’ment.

    “The 10% of households with the highest incomes pay nearly three-quarters of all income taxes.”
    That’s not true. the ones with the highest incomes surpass the allowed maximum tax, therefore anything earned above that amount is tax free. that’s why the rich get richer. where are you getting your info from?