Why Do People Pay No Federal Income Tax?

By :: July 27th, 2011

Much has been made of TPC’s estimate that fully 46 percent of Americans will pay no federal individual income tax this year. Commentators have often misinterpreted that percentage as indicating that nearly half of Americans pay no taxes. In fact, however, many of those who don’t pay income tax do pay other taxes—federal payroll and excise taxes as well as state and local income, sales, and property taxes.

The large percentage of people not paying income tax is often blamed on tax breaks that zero out many households’ income tax bills and can even result in net payments from the government. While that’s the case for many households, a new TPC paper shows that about half of people who don’t owe income tax are off the rolls not because they take advantage of tax breaks but rather because they have low incomes. For example, a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero. The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.

What about the rest of the untaxed households, the 23 percent of households who don’t pay income tax because of particular tax breaks? We divided tax expenditures (special provisions in the tax code that benefit particular taxpayers or activities) into eight categories and asked which ones made the most people nontaxable. The conclusion: Three-fourths of those households pay no income tax because of provisions that benefit senior citizens and low-income working families with children. Those provisions include the exclusion of some Social Security benefits from taxable income, the tax credit and extra standard deduction for the elderly, and the child, earned income, and childcare tax credits that primarily help low-income workers with children (see graph). Extending the example offered above, the couple could earn an additional $19,375 without paying income tax because their pre-credit tax liability of $2,056 would be wiped out by a $2,000 child tax credit and $57 of EITC.

Those provisions matter most for households with income under $50,000, who make up nearly 90 percent of those made nontaxable by tax expenditures. Higher-income households pay no tax because of other provisions. Itemized deductions and credits for children and education are a bigger factor for households with income between $50,000 and $100,000. The relatively few nontaxable households with income over $100,000 benefit most from above-the-line and itemized deductions and reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

Policymakers can argue about whether specific tax expenditures serve their intended purposes, whether restructuring them might improve them, and even whether we should have them at all. But they cannot argue that pruning them back or eliminating them all would result in every American paying income tax.

It’s also important to recognize that while tax expenditures push many people off the income tax rolls, they provide much larger benefits to higher-income households than to others, measured both in dollar value and as a share of income (see these TPC studies).  Rather than focusing on how relatively modest tax breaks make many of the elderly and low-income workers with children nontaxable, we should keep in mind that high-income households pay a lot less tax than they would without tax expenditures.

204Comments

  1. Michael Bindner  ::  12:27 pm on July 27th, 2011:

    Highlighting the tax benefits mainly benefiting the wealthy would be helpful. I suspect the biggest is mortgage interest, which should be ended and replaced by a larger child tax credit (which should be consolidated with other low income credits as well). I would then move the tax credit to a VAT-like Net Business Receipts Tax, which would in effect raise wages for families with children and lower wages for families without them. Doing this is the best way to end the aging crisis facing entitlements for seniors.

  2. AMTbuff  ::  3:17 pm on July 27th, 2011:

    Most discussion of tax expenditures implicitly assume that the tax rate is exogenous and the deduction was added an afterthought. This is false. The tax rates were set long after these mass-market deductions existed. If the deductions had not existed, today’s tax rates would be lower. Tax expenditures are not a pot of free money as some would like to believe.

    For a complete discussion of the deficiencies of mainstream treatment of tax expenditures, see
    http://taxprof.typepad.com/files/132tn0255.pdf

    I promise that you will be glad you took the time to read it.

  3. Why Do Half of Americans Pay No Federal Income Tax? « Donald Marron  ::  5:45 pm on July 27th, 2011:

    […] one reason should come as no surprise. It’s because they have low incomes. As my colleague Bob Williams notes: A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year […]

  4. the “half of all Americans pay no taxes” myth debunked | The Handsome Camel  ::  1:34 am on July 29th, 2011:

    […] points us to this post by Bob Williams at the Tax Policy Center for an explanation: [A]bout half of people who don’t owe […]

  5. Why more than half don’t pay income taxes? Easy. Low or no income.  ::  1:54 am on July 29th, 2011:

    […] should come as no surprise. It’s because they have low incomes. As my colleague Bob Williams notes: A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year […]

  6. Half of Americans pay no taxes? « Linkmeister  ::  3:06 am on July 29th, 2011:

    […] number one reason should come as no surprise. It’s because they have low incomes. As my colleague Bob Williams notes: A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year […]

  7. Why Do Half Of Americans Pay No Federal Income Tax? | Double Dutch Politics  ::  10:50 am on July 29th, 2011:

    […] precise reasons. Number one among them is pretty obvious, it’s because they have low incomes. Bob Williams notes: A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year […]

  8. Sure, true things are true but . . .Whatever Works…. – Politicaldog101.Com  ::  1:56 pm on July 29th, 2011:

    […] The number one reason should come as no surprise. It’s because they have low incomes. As my colleague Bob Williams notes: […]

  9. AMTbuff  ::  5:22 pm on July 29th, 2011:

    Most discussion of tax expenditures implicitly assume that the tax rate is exogenous and the deduction was added an afterthought. This is false. The tax rates were set long after these mass-market deductions existed. If the deductions had not existed, today’s tax rates would be lower. Tax expenditures are not a pot of free money as some would like to believe.

    For a complete discussion of the deficiencies of mainstream treatment of tax expenditures, see
    taxprof dot typepad dot com slash files slash 132tn0255 dot pdf
    (spelled out this way because actual links require manual approval but the approver must have been laid off)

    I promise that you will be glad you took the time to read it.

  10. Michael Bindner  ::  11:45 pm on July 29th, 2011:

    This is true – however the agreement behind the 2001 and 2003 rates and benefits has evaporated.

  11. How and why America is declining « Failures – exposed, reflected, considered  ::  3:55 am on August 2nd, 2011:

    […] some (according to certain criteria) of 46% of American population, who pay no Federal income tax, into the ranks of the remaining […]

  12. DCLawyer68  ::  10:05 am on August 2nd, 2011:

    Facts are facts. One half of the US population is paying for the operations of the United States government and another half is not. They may be paying for some aspect of state and local government. They may be paying into Social Security and Medicare, programs that disproportionately benefit lower income workers. However, it is increasingly untenable that a smaller and smaller number of people are bearing the entire load of the US government.

    There is no simple explanation for this. It results from a mish mash of policies, including the child tax credit, so beloved by social conservatives, the EITC, which was favored by Milton Friedman and other economic conservatives, and liberals who believe that the tax rate structure should not only be progressive but insanely so.

    We should stop being so defensive about this statistic. It is what it is. It’s not a sign of a health tax code. And there’s plenty of blame to go around.

  13. mcflavocat  ::  5:13 pm on August 2nd, 2011:

    It is true that many people do not pay into the Federal Government by virtue of taxation. But, these people also perform a vital function to the U.S. economic infrastructure by working at low-incomes. This permits higher-income people to make the added money they so covet. I, in no way, feel that lower-income people somehow are ‘getting-away’ with a free-ride. They are the labor force that provides the incomes that provide the taxes that benefit all of us economically.

  14. America’s Fiscal Problem Is In The Medium Term « Tax Australia  ::  8:14 pm on August 3rd, 2011:

    […] in increasing financial aid for college students).Move some (according to certain criteria) of 46% of American population, who pay no Federal income tax, into the ranks of the remaining 54%.Impose a national sales/VAT […]

  15. Getting Beyond Tax Hype | South By North Strategies, Ltd.  ::  12:30 pm on August 4th, 2011:

    […] that the reason why many American households have no federal income tax liability is because they have such low […]

  16. Why do half of all Americans pay no federal income taxes? « Tax Australia  ::  1:53 pm on August 4th, 2011:

    […] you’re not going to pay any income tax. Roberton Williams, one of the report’s authors, gives the example of “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400. They get an $11,600 standard deduction […]

  17. SUPER CONGRESS: Lessons in Representation, Secession and Taxation « 21st Century Wire  ::  11:59 am on August 15th, 2011:

    […] returns, representing 91 million individuals, will face a zero or negative tax liability.” The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center publishes the enclosed chart and states that “much has been made of TPC’s estimate that fully […]

  18. Representation, Secession and Taxation | theinfowarriors.com  ::  12:11 pm on August 15th, 2011:

    […] returns, representing 91 million individuals, will face a zero or negative tax liability.” The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center publishes the enclosed chart and states that “much has been made of TPC’s estimate that fully […]

  19. Representation, Secession and Taxation :  ::  1:03 pm on August 15th, 2011:

    […] representing 91 million individuals, will face a zero or negative tax liability.” The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center publishes the enclosed chart and states that “much has been made of TPC’s estimate that […]

  20. Gary  ::  2:09 pm on August 18th, 2011:

    This needs to be challenged differently. Why are those that don’t pay federal income taxes are bullied? Everyone has income that is not taxed. Everyone has 1 exemption for each person in their household regardless of income. Everyone has a minimum of a standard deduction based on their filing status. Both reduce the amount of income that is taxed. Those that are lucky enough to itemize their deductions have more income that is excluded from taxes.

    Those with AGI of $200k or more have on average $64k or more of itemized deductions. That is $64k of income that is not taxed.

  21. John  ::  2:39 pm on August 18th, 2011:

    How about a flat tax on everyone regardless of the source of the income. Let’s use 10%. No deductions for anything. If you work at a job and make $1.00 a year, you owe .10. Send it in. If you’re a corporation and make $8. Billion (like GE) you owe $800. million send it in. If your income is dividends, interest or capital gains same thing 10%. We would eliminate, tax atty’s, accountants and reduce the size of the IRS. And,this way everyone has skin in the game. jd

  22. Rick Perry’s “stupid, nonempirical, corrosive mindset” | Under the Mountain Bunker  ::  3:02 pm on August 18th, 2011:

    […] the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams has explained, “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year […]

  23. The Absurd Report » Representation, Secession and Taxation  ::  9:02 am on August 19th, 2011:

    […] returns, representing 91 million individuals, will face a zero or negative tax liability.” The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center publishes the enclosed chart and states that “much has been made of TPC’s estimate that fully […]

  24. Why Nearly Half of Americans Don’t Pay Federal Income Tax | Tax Credits for Working Families  ::  11:21 am on August 19th, 2011:

    […] personal exemptions in the tax code. A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 a year, for example, will receive an $11,600 standard deduction, as well as four exemptions of $3,700. Together, these […]

  25. A estranha discussão do impostos para os mais pobres nos EUA | leoeoleo  ::  5:54 pm on August 19th, 2011:

    […] $11,600 standard deduction and two exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero. As Bob Williamson puts it, “The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from […]

  26. Slacker Nation my ass!!! | BigDaddyCool  ::  2:09 pm on August 20th, 2011:

    […] the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams has explained, “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year […]

  27. On “Injustice” in the Tax Code |  ::  6:19 pm on August 22nd, 2011:

    […] Marcus puts it this way: As the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams has explained, “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year […]

  28. Republicans have finally found a group they want to tax: poor people. | Under the Mountain Bunker  ::  2:25 pm on August 23rd, 2011:

    […] the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams has explained, “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year […]

  29. Income tax claims are confused | MattBruenig | Politics  ::  12:52 am on August 24th, 2011:

    […] for the elderly, exemptions for parents and the poor, and other various tax credits — transfer the same amount or more money than the households pay in […]

  30. Should the poor pay higher taxes?  ::  12:40 pm on August 25th, 2011:

    […] $11,600 standard deduction and two exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero. As Bob Williamson puts it, "The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from […]

  31. Fomc Meeting  ::  8:04 pm on September 21st, 2011:

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  32. Spare Me Your Dumbassery « Pass The Doucheys on the Right-Hand Side  ::  9:01 am on September 22nd, 2011:

    […] it’s not just low-income workers, because over 20% of these Mooch-Americans are elderly people enjoying tax-free Social Security benefits, […]

  33. Conservatives launch “We are the 53 percent” to criticize 99 percenters « Tax Australia  ::  8:21 pm on October 10th, 2011:

    […] families, government welfare recipients, and students, the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams explains. “Many of those who don’t pay income tax do pay other taxes — federal payroll and excise […]

  34. We Are The 53 Percent  ::  7:28 am on October 11th, 2011:

    […] government welfare recipients, and students, the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams explains. “Many of those who don’t pay income tax do pay other taxes — federal payroll and […]

  35. CBS News ›› Conservatives launch “We are the 53%” blog in response to “Occupy Wall Street”  ::  10:33 am on October 11th, 2011:

    […] According to the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution’s Tax Policy Center, 46 percent of Americans will not pay federal income taxes for 2011. About half of those people, their report says, are exempt because their incomes are too low. The other half tend to be exempt due to provisions benefiting senior citizens and low-income working families with children. […]

  36. Conservatives launch "We are the 53%" blog in response to "Occupy Wall Street" « News Hub Today  ::  11:30 am on October 11th, 2011:

    […] According to the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution’s Tax Policy Center, 46 percent of Americans will not pay federal income taxes for 2011. About half of those people, their report says, are exempt because their incomes are too low. The other half tend to be exempt due to provisions benefiting senior citizens and low-income working families with children. […]

  37. In case there was any confusion « negativeinterest  ::  4:58 pm on October 11th, 2011:

    […] Movement conservatism (as well as the Tea Party, if you care to differentiate between the two) is, at its core, still a grievance industry. They don’t believe that all Americans pay too much in taxes – in fact, it is a common conservative complaint that many Americans pay no federal income taxes, though they still pay federal payroll and excise taxes as well as state and local income, sales, and property taxes. […]

  38. Onderbetaald? Suck it up you whiners « Nieuwsblog nrc.next  ::  9:48 am on October 12th, 2011:

    […] 46 procent die geen belastingen betaalt, heeft of een te hoog inkomen óf fiscale vrijstellingen gekregen. Inkomensbelasting betalen, dat zouden meer mensen moeten doen volgens de “53 […]

  39. Conservative '53 Percenters' Attack Occupy Wall Street Movement | goldmansucs.com  ::  10:45 am on October 12th, 2011:

    […] income taxes? For the answer to that question, we turn to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which released a study on the subject this July. (The TPC also put out the initial report with the 53 percent […]

  40. Why don’t 46 percent of Americans pay federal income taxes? They’re poor. « Scaypgrayce  ::  12:09 pm on October 12th, 2011:

    […] make much of the Tax Policy Center report last July that noted 46 percent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes. (It is false […]

  41. Conservative ’53 Percenters’ Attack Occupy Wall Street Movement | BNewsworld  ::  2:43 pm on October 12th, 2011:

    […] income taxes? For the answer to that question, we turn to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which released a study on the subject this July. (The TPC also put out the initial report with the 53 percent […]

  42. Turnstyle » Tumblr Page For the “53 Percent” Who Pay Income Tax  ::  4:15 pm on October 12th, 2011:

    […] was eager to downplay the 53 percent statistic on their blog, explaining, “Commentators have often misinterpreted that percentage as indicating that nearly […]

  43. Onderbetaald? Suck it up you whiners | Lenen Student Informatie  ::  4:15 am on October 13th, 2011:

    […] 46 procent die geen belastingen betaalt, heeft of een te hoog inkomen óf fiscale vrijstellingen gekregen. Inkomensbelasting betalen, dat zouden meer mensen moeten doen volgens de “53 […]

  44. Conservatives launch "We are the 53%" blog | My Blog  ::  5:15 am on October 13th, 2011:

    […] According to the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution’s Tax Policy Center, 46 percent of Americans will not pay federal income taxes for 2011. About half of those people, their report says, are exempt because their incomes are too low. The other half tend to be exempt due to provisions benefiting senior citizens and low-income working families with children. […]

  45. Conservatives launch “We are the 53 percent” to criticize 99 percenters | Stopping the spread of Sharia in America  ::  9:51 pm on October 13th, 2011:

    […] families, government welfare recipients, and students, the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams explains. “Many of those who don’t pay income tax do pay other taxes — federal payroll and excise […]

  46. 100% Ridiculous | HYSTERICAL RAISINS  ::  8:29 pm on October 17th, 2011:

    […] According to the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution’s Tax Policy Center, 46 percent of Americans will not pay federal income taxes for 2011. About half of those people, their report says, are exempt because their incomes are too low. The other half tend to be exempt due to provisions benefiting senior citizens and low-income working families with children. […]

  47. Tax “Cheats” | Penguin Rampant  ::  2:24 pm on October 18th, 2011:

    […] just the 1% that pay less in income tax than the basic tax rates suggest: nearly half of Americans pay no federal income tax at all. (Hence the “We Are the 53%” counter-movement.) These people could conceivably be called […]

  48. Playing Percentages: 99 Percent, 53 Percent, and the Questions They Raise on Taxes « Choosing the Nation's Fiscal Future  ::  3:53 pm on October 18th, 2011:

    […] owing any income tax is because of deliberate decisions we’ve made to let them off the hook. People who don’t pay income tax are either (a) poor or (b) have deductions that cancel out their t…, particularly tax credits for the elderly, children and the working poor. We can put them back on […]

  49. Josh  ::  4:34 pm on October 18th, 2011:

    I understand why people would be upset when seeing a simple statistic like this, but one needs to look at the reasoning behind it.

    Simple fact: Most people paying federal taxes have filed multiple returns where they owed nothing in the past (16 yr old with 2k income)

    Simple fact: Most people paying federal taxes will file multiple returns where they owe nothing in the future (seniors on social security, etc)

    I understand people can be upset that the couple earning 26k pays nothing on the federal level, but those earning 50k pay near 8-10%. If we have a flat tax it would have to be above 20% to match current tax intake levels. And we have massive deficits. If you want a 10% flat tax, considering the massive debt the country has you’d have to cut the federal government to presumably 10% of its current budget. Not going to happen – would literally bankrupt the USA.

  50. Taxing the Poor, Taxing the Poor | theinebriatedgentleman.com  ::  4:05 pm on November 1st, 2011:

    […] of American households paid no income tax whatsoever during 2009.  While this is correct if you analyze the facts it is easy to see why.  While they may not pay a tax bill at the end of each year, everyone pays sales tax, payroll […]

  51. Michigan Debate Fact Check – NYTimes.com  ::  11:09 pm on November 9th, 2011:

    […] Rampell Who Pays Federal TaxesMrs. Bachmann points out that 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income taxes. She is unusual among the candidates in using such specific numbers, and once again, the number […]

  52. Michigan Debate Fact Check | FINANCIAL ADVICES BLOG  ::  11:42 pm on November 9th, 2011:

    […] Michele Bachmann points out that 47 percent of Americans compensate no federal income taxes. She is surprising among a possibilities in regulating such specific numbers, and once again, a […]

  53. Michigan Debate Fact Check | BUSINESS GUIDE BLOG  ::  4:20 am on November 10th, 2011:

    […] Michele Bachmann points out that 47 percent of Americans compensate no federal income taxes. She is surprising among a possibilities in regulating such specific numbers, and once again, a […]

  54. on Small Businesses » Blog Archive » Michigan Debate Fact Check  ::  7:39 am on November 10th, 2011:

    […] Michele Bachmann points out that 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income taxes. She is unusual among the candidates in using such specific numbers, and once again, the number […]

  55. What do the 1% have that the middle class does not? – Quora  ::  9:06 am on November 16th, 2011:

    […] of provisions that benefit senior citizens and low-income working families with children." http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.or…The wealth of the top 0.1% is derived from common assets. Transportation, communication networks, […]

  56. Why Half of Americans Pay No Income Tax: It’s the Subsistence, Stupid | Mike the Mad Biologist  ::  10:12 am on January 7th, 2012:

    […] one reason should come as no surprise. It’s because they have low incomes. As my colleague Bob Williams notes: A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this […]

  57. » Nearly Half Of Americans Do Not Pay Income Taxes » American Live Wire  ::  10:15 pm on February 19th, 2012:

    […] TPC released a new study that examines why nearly half of Americans pay no federal income taxes: The number one reason should come as no surprise. It’s because they have low incomes. As my colleague Bob Williams notes: […]

  58. Anonymous  ::  10:24 pm on February 25th, 2012:

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  60. Seeing through Obama’s “Buffett Tax” lunacy « Full Metal Patriot  ::  1:52 pm on April 11th, 2012:

    […] First off, he could ask everyone to “pay their fair share” — that means including the 46% of Americans who pay NO federal individual income taxes. Better yet, Obama could urge Congress to dump the current tax code and implement the FairTax plan […]

  61. The 47%…Raise Their Taxes! » I. A. Grea  ::  12:33 am on May 14th, 2012:

    […] Why Do People Pay No Federal Income Tax? […]

  62. Beware the slide pool at the Sonoran Sky!You may end up in a 3rd world clinic!! – Page 10  ::  2:12 pm on July 14th, 2012:

    […] […]

  63. Romney taped at secret donor talk | Hot News Events  ::  10:06 pm on September 17th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  64. Mitt Romney: Comfortable with His Kind & Just Who Are These 47% Slacker People  ::  11:58 pm on September 17th, 2012:

    […] like to become better informed than a candidate for president of the United States, check out this post from the  Tax Policy Center. In part: Much has been made of TPC’s estimate that fully 46 percent of Americans will pay no […]

  65. Romney Calls 47% of Voters Dependent in Leaked Video – NYTimes.com  ::  12:02 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low incomes.Michael D. […]

  66. Mitt Romney secret video reveals views on Obama voters | Zed Chronicle  ::  12:32 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  67. Economix Blog: The Reasons Behind the ‘People Who Pay No Income Tax’ | Mobile News Plus  ::  12:41 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The inactive and rarely reputable Tax Policy Center subsequent a 47 percent series – it is indeed 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an glorious research of it last summer. […]

  68. Mitt Romney secret video reveals views on Obama voters | DILMUN TIMES  ::  1:13 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  69. The Caucus: Leaked Romney Video Shows Blunt Talk on ‘Dependents’ • TotalNews  ::  1:56 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low […]

  70. The Reasons Behind the ‘People Who Pay No Income Tax’ | Forex Market Today  ::  3:05 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. […]

  71. U.S.A. News » The Reasons Behind the ‘People Who Pay No Income Tax’  ::  4:53 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. […]

  72. Romney Calls 47% of Voters Dependent in Leaked Video  ::  5:02 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low incomes.AGNCIES   […]

  73. Romney Video Leaked – Calls 47% of Voters Dependent  ::  5:09 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low […]

  74. Tax on income is easy to levy but fundamentally unsound « The k2p blog  ::  5:32 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. It found that about half of the households that do not pay federal income tax do not pay it […]

  75. In one clip, Mr. Romney describes how his campaign would not try to appeal to “47 percent of the people” who will vote for Mr. Obama “no matter what.” « jmhamiltonpublishing  ::  5:55 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low […]

  76. Romney taped at secret donor talk  ::  6:10 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  77. Mitt Romney secret video reveals views on Obama voters  ::  6:23 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  78. Commentary: Mitt Romney writes off 47% of Americans | What The Folly?!  ::  7:07 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] Tax Policy Center: Why Do People Pay No Federal Income Tax? […]

  79. Romney Calls 47% of Voters Dependent in Leaked Video « agumjapan  ::  7:19 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low […]

  80. Behind the ‘People Who Pay No Income Tax’ | News from around the world  ::  7:31 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. […]

  81. Behind the ‘People Who Pay No Income Tax’ | allfiredupmedia.com  ::  7:37 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. […]

  82. Behind the ‘People Who Pay No Income Tax’ | Moridin WP Demo  ::  7:48 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. […]

  83. Altruistic Staffing » Mitt Romney secret video reveals views on Obama voters  ::  8:22 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  84. Maintenance Professional of South Florida » Mitt Romney secret video reveals views on Obama voters  ::  8:23 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  85. IS ROMNEY RIGHT? « The Burning Platform  ::  8:34 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  86. Why the poor are like Romney: they don’t pay taxes « FortLeft  ::  9:14 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] are very interesting charts that explain a great deal about our tax policy.  And, last summer, Roberton Williams posted on the Tax Policy Center’s blog in response to controversey about there […]

  87. David Brooks on the 47% video: Romney has “divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers.” | Prometheus Unbound  ::  9:19 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low […]

  88. Leaked Mitt Romney fundraiser video – Page 3  ::  9:20 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. It found that about half of the households that do not pay federal income tax do not pay it […]

  89. Global Newsflash – Breaking News, US, World, Technology, Enertainment, Science | Romney’s Wrong And Right About The ’47 Percent’  ::  9:23 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] non-partisan Tax Policy Center, and others, have many times pointed out that a little less than half of Americans pay no federal […]

  90. Dr. Tom  ::  9:26 am on September 18th, 2012:

    46 % of what? No articles seem to indicate the denominator. This article implies that it is 46% o households, but elsewhere refers to 46% of Americans. That would include children who don’t pay income taxes. Please, let’s be precise.

  91. Behind the ‘People Who Pay No Income Tax’ | Forex Market Today  ::  10:16 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. […]

  92. Romney taped in Mid-East ‘gaffe’ | Hot News Events  ::  10:22 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  93. Who are Mitt Romney’s freeloading 46 percent? | Jay Bookman  ::  10:24 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The Tax Policy Center, which generated that statistic in the first place, breaks it down for us. They are: […]

  94. Romney Calls 47% of Voters Dependent in Leaked Video | Christians for Mitt  ::  10:46 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low incomes. Share […]

  95. Clark bongaardt  ::  10:49 am on September 18th, 2012:

    Is there any study that also includes what other benefits these families receive that are not considered income for tax purposes? For example – subsidized child care, unemployment benefits, housing and utility allowances, SNAP (food stamps), disability benefits, farm subsidies, etc. It seems to me that if you are going to compare these groups you need to do so in a balanced approach that includes all sources of assistance as “income.” The definition of “poverty” was set 50 years ago agho and isn’t realistic today.

  96. The 47 percent who don’t pay income taxes « Phil Ebersole's Blog  ::  11:20 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] on Why Do People Pay No Federal Income Tax? for information from the Tax Policy […]

  97. Here's who pays no federal income tax | Best Articles And News  ::  11:22 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] In a blog released not long after its report, the TPC explained that “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero.” […]

  98. A new secret video clip has emerged of remarks by Republican candidate Mitt Romney, saying the Palestinians are committed to Israel’s destruction. « eastangliandivision  ::  11:25 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  99. In the picture: Romney’s 47% | The World  ::  11:30 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] its Economixs blog. In it, she points out that it is actually 46 per cent if he is referring to the Tax Policy Center’s report last year on those who don’t pay federal individual income tax, and that the reason they don’t […]

  100. Who doesn’t pay taxes, in charts  ::  11:34 am on September 18th, 2012:

    […] they’ve benefited from a series of tax cuts endorsed by Republicans over the years. The graph below from the Tax Policy Center shows why many workers who earn income don’t have to pay the […]

  101. Creetch  ::  11:52 am on September 18th, 2012:

    ALL of the studies are about those who file income taxes. The actual studies are not connected to the statements that are being made in any precise way. Most statements say either Americans or households, neither of which are correct.

  102. Watch: Mitt Romney Reveals He’s 100 Percent Behind the 1 Percent  ::  12:39 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. […]

  103. How paying no federal income taxes helps the poor get off welfare and into work  ::  12:48 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] don’t 47 percent of Americans pay federal income taxes? One major reason: Tax credits that were passed with major bipartisan support — namely the Earned Income Tax Credit […]

  104. Jacqueline O’Connor  ::  12:57 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    At a personal level, I think Romney would be a failure as president. However, he’s right about the large number of people who pay no income tax. That’s obscene. Clean up the tax code and eliminate all tax deductions including mortgage or child deductions. (You had ’em, parents, we pay to educate them, you kick in on income tax.)

  105. How paying no federal income taxes helps the poor get off welfare and into work | The Penn Ave Post  ::  1:08 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] 18, 2012 by Suzy Khimm Why don’t 47 percent of Americans pay federal income taxes? One major reason: Tax credits that were passed with major bipartisan support — namely the Earned Income Tax Credit […]

  106. Maryanne  ::  1:28 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    Isn’t this the guy that didn’t want us to see his own personal tax returns?

  107. Romney’s Wrong And Right About The ’47 Percent’ « Welcome to the Doctor's Office  ::  2:10 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] The non-partisan Tax Policy Center, and others, have many times pointed out that a little less than half of Americans pay no federal income taxes. But as TPC also noted last year, “many of those who don’t pay income tax do pay other taxes — federal payroll and excise taxes as well as state and local income, sales, and property taxes.” […]

  108. Lisa  ::  2:24 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    It would be interesting to see such a study, since many of these items you list ARE taxable. From people I have talked to who are on them, I know disability, UEB, and subsidized childcare are taxable. The others may very well be too.

    With disability for example, there is a page-long form on your tax return to fill out to decide the rate at which your disability will be taxed. The MINIMUM tax rate on disability is 15%.

    So no, people on government assistance programs for whatever reason are not necessarily getting a “free ride” at tax time on these incomes either.

    Be careful what assumptions you make.

  109. Carol  ::  2:46 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    Well, Romney was so proud of the fact that he paid his 13% income tax last year and you are telling me that the minimum tax rate on disability is 15%… Sheesh why would we think that more trickle down economix will work? I haven’t seen any trickle down from the last time we got that!

  110. How Do the 47% Vote? | Forex Market Today  ::  3:11 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] half of people who don’t owe federal income tax owe nothing because their incomes are too low; that […]

  111. Mitt Romney video and the 47 percent: Who doesn’t pay income taxes? | News from around the world  ::  3:56 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax,” wrote TPC’s Roberton Williams in an analysis of these figures last […]

  112. Here’s who pays no federal income tax | Forex Market Today  ::  4:13 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] In a blog released not long after its report, the TPC explained that “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero.” […]

  113. Kelly  ::  4:22 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    You’re confusing marginal tax rate with effective rate. The marginal rate quoted above for disability is 15% while Romney’s marginal rate is 35%. Keep in mind that disability income is also granted all the deductions given to regular income. Also, the amount of the disabilty that is taxable varies based on income. Eighty-five percent of disability is taxable (at your normal marginal rates) if your regular income plus one half of your disability exceeds $34K for single filers or $44K for joint filers. If your regular income plus one half of your disability is less than $25K for singles or $32K for married filing jointly, none of your disability is taxed. So a single person, relying on just disability can get $50K in disability before any of it becomes taxable. What if he gets $60K in benefits? Just the portion that exceeds the threshhold is taxable. So, start with 1/2 of $60K. Of that $30K, $5,000 exceeds the $25K threshhold and therefore ONE HALF of that is taxable. So this disabled individual would have taxable income of $2,500. That amount would be reduced by his standard deductions and would therefore drop to zero and no taxes would be owed. It gets complicated but I estimate that one would need at least of $90K of disability to pay the first dollar of taxes. And again, he would only pay on the excess which brings the effective rate down to close to zero. The disabled are NOT paying excessive taxes.

  114. Who doesn’t pay taxes, in eight charts | Tax Accountant Danville CA | CPA  ::  4:41 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] don’t pay income taxes thanks to a series of tax cuts endorsed by Republicans over the years. The graph below from the Tax Policy Center shows why so many workers who do earn income don’t have to pay the […]

  115. Mitt Romney Secret Video Reveals Views On Obama Voters (BBC News – Video)  ::  4:46 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  116. Doug  ::  5:30 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    “…a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year…”

    And how is it assumed that these families don’t receive any entitlements?

  117. Carrie Baer  ::  5:48 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    WAKE UP AMERICA! WHILE YOU STILL HAVE A SLIM CHANCE! VOTE! VOTE!
    FOR MR. ROMNEY OR AMERICA IS “DEAD IN THE WATER”!!!! WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOOSE! OBAMA HAS TAKEN IT ALL AND NOW WE HAVE “TWENTY” NATIONS WHO “HATE” US. WHEN IN HISTORY HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED BEFORE? OPEN YOUR EYES AMERICA!!!! AGAIN, WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOOSE!!!! THIS IS THE FIRST president WHO HAS EVER THROWN OUR ALLY (ISRAEL)UNDER THE BUS, DISHONORED US AND ISRAEL AND ALLOWED EGYPT TO KILL OUR AMBASSADOR AND THREE OTHERS AND HE IS STILL GOING TO SEND BILLIONS OF OUR DOLLARS TO AIDE EGYPT??? IT’S CRAZY, HE IS CRAZY. WAKE UP!!

  118. Mitt Romney Video Offends Liberals And Conservatives Alike, Receives Negative Press Response | Top-Celebrities-News.com  ::  6:17 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] According to the Tax Policy Center, in 2011, 46 percent of households paid no federal income taxes. (According to Harry Reid, Mitt Romney has been among them in the past.) About half simply didn’t make enough money to pay income tax. The other 38 million households are exempted from paying by a variety of specific tax deductions. Nearly half of that latter group, 44 percent, were the elderly eligible for tax breaks. Another 30.4 percent were exempted by credits for children and the working poor — breaks long championed by conservatives, most recently President George W. Bush. […]

  119. Economix Blog: How Do the 47% Vote? | Mobile News Plus  ::  6:42 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] half of people who don’t owe sovereign income taxation owe zero given their incomes are too low; that […]

  120. Counterparties: Revenge of the lucky dukies | Felix Salmon  ::  6:47 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] is true, according to the Tax Policy Center, that 46% of American taxpayers pay no federal income taxes — the so-called lucky duckies. […]

  121. Mitt Romney Supported By A Third Of Low-Income Voters: Poll « Go to News!  ::  6:48 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] of Americans pay no income tax — a figure that includes several disparate groups, from families of four making less than $26,400, to the […]

  122. States With Highest Percent of People Who Do Not Pay Federal Income Tax « Silver For The People – The Blog  ::  7:10 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] tax do so because they are elderly, students, unemployed, or working people with very low incomes.Why Do Some People Pay No Federal Income TaxThese people may pay many other taxes including the payroll tax, state tax, sales tax, fees and […]

  123. Who are the 47% « Flexible Reality  ::  7:17 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] out of five households not owing federal income tax earn less than $30,000,according to the Tax Policy Center. (Tax Policy Center)Here’s another,slightly wonkier,way to think about the 47%. Divide […]

  124. Why Almost Half Of Americans Pay No Federal Income Tax | USA News  ::  7:37 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] figure comes from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which actually reported that 46 percent of Americans would not pay a federal income tax in 2011. […]

  125. JTGDeals.Com News » Mitt Romney Supported By A Third Of Low-Income Voters: Poll  ::  7:39 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] of Americans pay no income tax — a figure that includes several disparate groups, from families of four making less than $ 26,400, to the […]

  126. Romney’s “Entitled 47 Percent” Taxed At Higher Rate Than He Is  ::  7:54 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] In 2011, 47% of Americans paid no federal income taxes. Within that group, two-thirds still pay payroll taxes. The rest are almost all either (a) old and retired folks collecting Social Security or (b) households earning less than $20,000. Overall, four out of five households not owing federal income tax earn less than $30,000, according to the Tax Policy Center. […]

  127. Op-Ed: Romney Disparages 47% of Americans in Secret Video | The Rainbow Times  ::  8:11 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] excise taxes), or they benefit from tax credits for the working poor, the elderly, or students, as these charts from the Tax Policy Center show. Only 7 percent of the country is non-elderly and has no federal […]

  128. Breaking: Romney Says Words, Campaign Over, Hyperbole, Blah | The News Burner  ::  9:35 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] interesting part of all this is that while it’s true 47% of Americans don’t pay income tax, he’s wrong to discount them all as Obama voters. According to USA […]

  129. Pro-Life, not Pro 47% of America « ThePoliticalRenaissance  ::  9:49 pm on September 18th, 2012:

    […] their economic standing in society so they rely on the government to give them handouts.  Well, according to the Tax Policy Institute, half of that 46 percent, or 23 percent of the nation- doesn’t pay taxes because they simply […]

  130. Romney’s Freeloading 47  ::  12:11 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] obligations. (Last year, the income level at which a family of four was to begin paying taxes was $26,400.) It should be noted that the Earned Income Tax Credit has been supported by Republican presidents […]

  131. Raymond Moorhouse  ::  12:58 am on September 19th, 2012:

    Nice spin. The original information was 47% of WAGE EARNERS pay no federal income tax. So, the deduction is those folks not paying federal income tax would support those politicians or political party that will maintain federal income tax policy that will allow them to continue paying no federal income tax.

  132. Mitt Romney secret video reveals views on Middle East | DILMUN TIMES  ::  1:21 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  133. Who pays no income tax? | 1040 Tax Plus Services  ::  4:56 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] In a blog released not long after its report, the TPC explained that “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero.” […]

  134. Here's who pays no federal income tax | 1040 Tax Plus Services  ::  4:56 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] In a blog released not long after its report, the TPC explained that “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero.” […]

  135. Obama: Mitt Romney wrong to call Americans ‘victims’  ::  5:40 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  136. Obama chides Romney over remarks  ::  6:02 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  137. Morning Feature – Nutshell: Why Romney’s 47% Remarks Matter | BPI Campus  ::  7:01 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] half are hard-working American families who pay payroll taxes but no federal income taxes because they earn so little that their standard deduction and per-dependent exemptions total more than their…, or they qualify for work subsidies like the Earned Income Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit. A […]

  138. Mitt Romney puts his foot in his mouth (again) | pridek news mag  ::  9:23 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] According to the Tax Policy Center, in 2011, 46 percent of households paid no federal income taxes. (According to Harry Reid, Mitt Romney has been among them in the past.) About half simply didn’t make enough money to pay income tax. The other 38 million households are exempt from paying by a variety of specific tax deductions. Nearly half of that latter group, 44 percent, were the elderly eligible for tax breaks. Another 30.4 percent were exempt due to credits for children and the working poor — breaks long championed by conservatives, most recently President George W. Bush. […]

  139. “Americans Who Do Not Pay Taxes”: Isn’t Mitt Romney A Member Of The 47 Percent? « mykeystrokes.com  ::  10:30 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says roughly 46 percent of Americans paid no income tax for the last year where numbers are […]

  140. Video Throws Romney Campaign into Turmoil | The Independent Agenda  ::  10:42 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] a series of Republican-sponsored initiatives has given lower-income workers tax credits, like the earned income credit, to encourage them to […]

  141. Capital Outlook – Tallahassee » Romney Calls Obama Supporters Freeloaders  ::  10:48 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] Tax Policy Center, a joint project between the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, stated last year: “Much has been made of TPC’s estimate that fully 46 percent of Americans will pay no […]

  142. Every1LetsTalk – Obama: Mitt Romney wrong to call Americans ‘victims’  ::  10:55 am on September 19th, 2012:

    […] majority of those who pay payroll but not income tax do so because of tax benefits for the elderly, families with children and low-income […]

  143. Patrick R. Sullivan  ::  11:47 am on September 19th, 2012:

    ‘We should keep in mind that high-income households pay a lot less tax than they would without tax expenditures.’

    So, now you agree with Martin Feldstein?

  144. How soon they forget…yes, Mitt was correct about 47 percent: – US Message Board – Political Discussion Forum  ::  12:01 pm on September 19th, 2012:

    […] […]

  145. CAROL  ::  12:46 pm on September 19th, 2012:

    MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE PAID BETWEEN 30 AND 35% IN TAXES ON A MODEST INCOME WHILE MANY OF THE RICH ONLY PAY 11 TO 13%. THEREFORE, YES, I FEEL I PAY TOO MUCH IN TAXES. THE TAX LAWS SHOULD BE OVERHAULED TO A MORE SIMPLISTIC FLAT TAX.

  146. Matt  ::  2:59 pm on September 19th, 2012:

    I love people’s ignorant misunderstanding of the tax code. When you hear numbers like 13% for people like Mitt Romney that is federal only income tax and in his case they included into his income money that he donates to charity, which is inaccurate to use.

    For you to pay 30-35% federal income tax as a married couple filing jointly you would have to make at least 217k after your standard deduction, personal exemptions, and all other deductions. And then that would just be your top marginal bracket. But then your federal effective rate, which is what they are using in your 13% example, would be something much, much lower.

  147. Edgar  ::  5:34 pm on September 19th, 2012:

    No. I believe it was his birth certificate, college grades, foreign student status, papers, writings, year book, financial aid application ….. oh wait….that was another politcrat.

  148. Why 46 Percent of American Households Pay No Federal Income Tax | Tax Credits for Working Families  ::  6:00 pm on September 19th, 2012:

    […] personal exemptions in the tax code. A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 a year, for example, receives an $11,600 standard deduction, as well as four exemptions of $3,700. Together, these […]

  149. What Romney Won’t Tell You About The 47 Percent | Get Money Out Of Politics  ::  6:37 pm on September 19th, 2012:

    […] taxes), or they benefit from tax credits for the working poor, the elderly, or students, as these charts from the Tax Policy Center show. Only 7 percent of the country is non-elderly and has no federal […]

  150. Mrs. C.  ::  7:28 pm on September 19th, 2012:

    Harry Reid’s comments about Romney not paying taxes is not based on any factual information! He was speculating that maybe Romney didn’t pay taxes because of Romney’s refusal to disclose more tax returns than what he has already disclosed! He was suggesting that maybe that was the reason for Romney’s refusal! The only information Reid has on Romney’s taxes is the information that Romney has disclosed on the returns he has made public!!! I can’t believe some people have such a low level of comprehension that they could misunderstand what Reid said!

  151. WATCH: Reagan, Bush Praise What Mitt Romney Railed Against | Political Ration  ::  8:53 pm on September 19th, 2012:

    […] comment about 47 percent of people not paying income taxes is nearly on the mark, but misleading — 46 percent of Americans did not pay income taxes in 2011, according to the Tax Policy […]

  152. WATCH: Reagan, Bush Praise What Mitt Romney Railed Against : freedomluchador.com  ::  11:00 pm on September 19th, 2012:

    […] comment about 47 percent of people not paying income taxes is nearly on the mark, but misleading — 46 percent of Americans did not pay income taxes in 2011, according to the Tax Policy […]

  153. Who Are Mitt Romney’s Freeloading 47% and How did they Get Here? | HariKari  ::  1:17 am on September 20th, 2012:

    […] The 47% of people who did not pay federal income tax is made up of the elderly, the disabled, the those earning military pay, and even some millionaires, but the largest portion of those who do not pay the tax are the working poor. They don’t pay federal taxes because of the Earned Income Tax Credit. […]

  154. Lee  ::  3:24 am on September 20th, 2012:

    There is a subsistence level that must remain untaxed! I view the taxes I pay as part of the Social Contract . . . I pay more because I earn more. The biggest budget challenge is Defense Spending. If the goal is to cut gov’t spending below 20% of GDP, we need to get military spending down to 2% or 3% max. incl. vets hospitals, college benefits, etc. We should foster peace and not war! Spend on our people. I don’t think we won the ‘minds and hearts of the Iraqi people.

  155. Dialogue of Rivals: the Makers vs. the Moochers « Blog of Rivals  ::  1:17 pm on September 20th, 2012:

    […] We both are aware of the ridiculousness of his comment; and if we’re not, the analyses by The Tax Policy Center, The Hamilton Project and The Tax Foundation evidence the absurdity.  Wonkblog’s Brad […]

  156. Anonymous  ::  7:29 pm on September 20th, 2012:

    […] If you don't like this particular version of the facts, you may study the original report, or this comment on it by the Tax Policy Center, or any of several other articles that you can find by Googling the question "Who are the 47 […]

  157. The Geography of the 47% – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities « mawillits  ::  10:35 pm on September 20th, 2012:

    […] In 2011, 47% of Americans paid no federal income taxes. Within that group, two-thirds still pay payroll taxes. The rest are almost all either (a) old and retired folks collecting Social Security or (b) households earning less than $20,000. Overall, four out of five households not owing federal income tax earn less than $30,000, according to the Tax Policy Center. […]

  158. Romeny Comments on 47% May Be Repudiation of Reagan Conservatism | Business | TIME.com  ::  10:00 am on September 21st, 2012:

    […] don’t pay income taxes are simply poor. Of the rest, Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center explains, Three-fourths of those households pay no income tax because of provisions that benefit senior […]

  159. How to Track Federal Income Tax –  ::  3:55 pm on September 21st, 2012:

    […] quick reporting suggested Mr. Romney’s factoid had come from a study (Full report) conducted by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan group that tracks and analyzes tax […]

  160. 47 Percent | Men of the Round  ::  2:08 pm on September 22nd, 2012:

    […] income tax if your income falls below a certain threshold. For a family of four, that threshold was$26,400 last year. 10% are Benefits for the elderly. Some Social Security payments are not taxed as income. The […]

  161. Occupy Your State » A Closer Look at the 47 Percent  ::  7:27 pm on September 22nd, 2012:

    […] were not elderly but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low […]

  162. Occupy Your State » WATCH: Reagan, Bush Praise What Mitt Romney Railed Against  ::  7:31 pm on September 22nd, 2012:

    […] comment about 47 percent of people not paying income taxes is nearly on the mark, but misleading — 46 percent of Americans did not pay income taxes in 2011, according to the Tax Policy Center, […]

  163. ACROSS THE FADER – BIZ – Was Romney’s Tax Gaffe a Repudiation of Reaganite Conservatism?  ::  9:34 pm on September 23rd, 2012:

    […] who don’t pay income tax are simply poor. Of the rest, Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center explains: Three-fourths of those households pay no income tax because of provisions that benefit senior […]

  164. stephoe  ::  4:34 am on September 24th, 2012:

    I love tax lawyers’ ignorant misunderstanding of the average Joe’s non-comprehension of the arcane and esoteric Tax Code of the USA. It’s like Matt doesn’t understand that dummies don’t get Shakespeare, no matter how you explain it. You’ve got to be crazy (said Roger) to “get” this tax code stuff, especially since it changes every damn year!

    And the misinterpretations of the very concept of percentages amongst the population of America is the combined fault of the NEA,the NBA, NHL, AFC and NFC together, in unison.

  165. Election Season Economics: What Does “The Economy” Mean to You? | PFS  ::  1:18 pm on September 24th, 2012:

    […] Tax Policy Center illustrates how this is […]

  166. 60 Minutes FAIL: 10 Questions Scott Pelley Didn’t Ask Mitt Romney But Should Have | a l e v e i  ::  3:54 pm on September 24th, 2012:

    […] Since the very small minority of Americans who pay “no income tax” are families living in poverty, low-income seniors who have paid all their lives into the system […]

  167. Slinking Toward Retirement | The 47 Percent, In One Graphic : Planet Money : NPR | News, Travel, Opinion and Just Odd and Funny Things…  ::  10:00 am on September 25th, 2012:

    […] Low income. There’s no income tax if your income falls below a certain threshold. For a family of four, that threshold was $26,400 last year. […]

  168. Obama campaign releases 2 new TV spots attacking Romney’s 47% comment | What The Folly?!  ::  9:28 pm on September 25th, 2012:

    […] Tax Policy Center: Why Do People Pay No Federal Income Tax? […]

  169. 47 Percent | Roseylinn's Blog  ::  2:21 pm on September 26th, 2012:

    […] truth[i] is that the Tax Policy Center estimated that 46% of American’s would pay no federal individual […]

  170. Video Stirs Parties and Minds « Orange County Free Press  ::  5:23 pm on September 30th, 2012:

    […] July 2011 study from the Tax Policy Center found that 46 percent of Americans pay no income taxes, though many […]

  171. The 47%: Who They Are, Where They Live, How They Vote, and Why They Matter | Gadgets and computers  ::  2:53 pm on October 6th, 2012:

    […] In 2011, 47% of Americans paid no federal income taxes. Within that group, two-thirds still pay payroll taxes. The rest are almost all either (a) old and retired folks collecting Social Security or (b) households earning less than $ 20,000. Overall, four out of five households not owing federal income tax earn less than $ 30,000, according to the Tax Policy Center. […]

  172. Who Are Those Folks Who Don’t Pay Federal Income Taxes? « Poverty & Policy  ::  7:02 am on October 25th, 2012:

    […] About half of these people don’t pay federal income taxes simply because they don’t earn enough. The standard deduction, plus however many personal exemptions they’re entitled to brings their taxable income down to zero, as Roberton Williams at the Tax Policy Center explains. […]

  173. Taxes Paid by the 47%  ::  10:24 pm on October 25th, 2012:

    […] is estimated that about 80% of households owe federal income tax before taking special tax breaks.   That leaves about 27% that paid no federal income tax due to […]

  174. Five Days and Counting « NC Prism  ::  8:23 am on November 1st, 2012:

    […] In 2011, 47% of Americans paid no federal income taxes. Within that group, two-thirds still pay payroll taxes. The  rest are almost all either (a) old and retired folks collecting Social  Security or (b) households earning less than $20,000. Overall, four out of  five households not owing federal income tax earn less than $30,000,  according to the Tax Policy Center. […]

  175. The Challenge and The Will « Vitriolism  ::  4:23 am on November 6th, 2012:

    […] income tax, and were government moochers. This is mildly inaccurate for a lot of reasons. In total, 46%of Americans don’t pay income tax. This doesn’t mean they don’t pay taxes. They […]

  176. New 2000 | Editorial: Taxes debate avoids the hard truths  ::  2:19 am on December 20th, 2012:

    […] households pay no federal income tax. And roughly half of this group, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, could reasonably be called middle class. The reason they don’t pay is not, as some have […]

  177. Editorial: Taxes debate avoids the hard truths | news  ::  10:18 am on December 20th, 2012:

    […] households pay no federal income tax. And roughly half of this group, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, could reasonably be called middle class. The reason they don’t pay is not, as some have […]

  178. Where Romney Got ’47 Percent’: DNews Nugget | Discovery News (Legacy Typepad)  ::  3:49 pm on January 16th, 2013:

    […] Romney likely got the 47 percent figure from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. In 2011 the group published an analysis of US taxpayers which found that, in fact, 46 percent of Americans do not pay income tax. However […]

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  180. Why Half of Americans Don’t Pay Income Tax | Stock Market News – Business & Tech News  ::  3:59 pm on February 5th, 2013:

    […] The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer. […]

  181. The Caucus: Leaked Romney Video Shows Blunt Talk on ‘Dependents’ – World Bad News : World Bad News  ::  1:57 pm on February 6th, 2013:

    […] underneath $20,000. Roberton Williams, a comparison associate during a center, wrote in a blog post final summer that about half of those were off a rolls since they had low […]

  182. Mitt Is On Fire » URANTIAN SOJOURN  ::  3:46 pm on March 13th, 2013:

    […] taxes), or they benefit from tax credits for the working poor, the elderly, or students, as these charts from the Tax Policy Center show. Only 7 percent of the country is non-elderly and has no federal […]

  183. Doublespeak » Blog Archive » The Americans who go Nay…  ::  3:09 am on April 2nd, 2013:

    […] children also have tax credits that would lower their federal tax burden. (See the pie-chart on this report from the Tax Policy Center for a breakdown of the tax-returns that did not have to pay taxes). […]

  184. अतिवीर्य लोकसत्ता अमेरिका? Bah, Humbug, no More | elcidharth  ::  9:51 am on May 4th, 2013:

    […] In a blog released not long after its report, the TPC explained that “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero.” […]

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  186. Stop Calling for a Flat Tax | Misfit Politics  ::  11:01 am on June 17th, 2013:

    […] Romney wasn’t too far off on his statement about 47% of Americans not paying taxes. As the Tax Policy Center reports, 46% of Americans don’t pay federal income tax. Essentially, those calling for a flat tax are […]

  187. Happy Fourth of July! America is Dying. « Angrywoodchuck's Blog  ::  10:54 pm on July 4th, 2013:

    […] of Americans pay no federal individual income tax. If you don’t pay any Federal income tax, then you don’t care if income taxes are […]

  188. Jeffrey Grubert  ::  1:42 pm on July 15th, 2013:

    Many people are making claims these days about 46-47 percent of Americans paying no tax…especially the greedy rich (who are the one’s who use all the tax loop holes to pay no taxes) including me :), but if you take some time and look into it…you might be surprised to learn the facts about the issue. See the link below. Personally, I don’t mind paying taxes and I appreciate a system that provides ways for me to reduce my tax liability but to use the issue for political positioniing? Really? Let’s talk about what really matters – are you making sacrifices for others, or are you sucking everything you can get out of this life for you and your family’s benefit.

    I was in the wild wilderness this week with friends and we were relating that for our entire life the baby boomer generation has sucked the most out of the economy and the majority of them are still selfish to the grave! Republicans and demograts they are exactly the same. Protect wealth and the rich and blame the poor. Just like this “who pays taxes debate.” That generation, even though they tout their parents for being the most sacrificing (fighting WWII) have been the largest population is US history to do the exact opposite. I am glad they think that their war-torn relatives gave so much, but what have they left us the X’er’s and now the Y generation. More sloppy wars in honor of their anscestors, while at gobbling up the world resources because we have God and the rest of the world is a terrible place to live. Honestly, we’ve followed their example of greed right into the next two generations which is why we have the financial crisis we have now. I’m not saying WE are any better, or me for that matter.

    The baby boomers, the x’ers and the Y generation have one thing in common…no wisdom elders to lead us into a more just society. A non-dual, non-partisan system, non-violent society that we will only find in relationship with creation itself. That which we are destroying does in fact hold the solution to our greed and violent cultural and political system. There is a way out, but most are blind! I have to go into the wild to hear the crying voices reflect our restless lost souls. I weep….

  189. What Romney Won’t Tell You About The 47 Percent » Angry Monks  ::  12:14 pm on July 25th, 2013:

    […] taxes), or they benefit from tax credits for the working poor, the elderly, or students, as these charts from the Tax Policy Center show. Only 7 percent of the country is non-elderly and has no federal […]

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  192. More USA political questions – Page 19 – GT40s.com  ::  4:41 am on October 26th, 2013:

    […] deduction plus four exemptions of $3,700 each will lower their taxable income to zero [source: Williams]. Roughly half of Americans who pay no Federal income tax do so because they simply don't earn […]

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  194. mary r  ::  11:09 am on December 10th, 2013:

    In fact the boomer generation has paid the highest tax level of any previous generation for social security and medicare. The $3 trillion trust fund surplus was an effort to pre-fund our retirement so to not burden our children and grandchildren. In comparion the depression era and WWII generations paid very little in and have received much higher benefits. The reduction of corporate income taxes, now at just 9% of tax revenue, is a big culprit in insufficient revenue to pay for our war bills. Social security has not contributed a penny to our enormous deficits. If it does now or in the near future, it will be because presidents and congress stole the money.

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  197. Alexander Liddington-Cox: Journalist, broadcaster, producer | Collection time for Romney’s great tax gaffe  ::  4:43 am on April 2nd, 2014:

    […] Research from the non-partisan Tax Policy Centre, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institute, investigates why it is that 38 million households don’t pay federal income tax. […]

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  201. Good news for Romney: The 47 percent are now down to 40 percent – The Washington Post  ::  3:05 pm on January 13th, 2015:

    […] The personal exemption and the standard deduction — two basic provisions of the tax code — protect the first $26,400 earned by a family of four from taxation so that people without means aren't giving what they […]

  202. they should kick Greece and Spain out of the eurozone – Page 2  ::  11:56 am on January 28th, 2015:

    […] income tax if your income falls below a certain threshold. For a family of four, that threshold was $26,400 last year. Benefits for the elderly. Some Social Security payments are not taxed as income. The elderly also […]

  203. Romney’s “47 Percent” Comments Reflect Conservative Dogma | Bridge Project  ::  8:24 pm on February 3rd, 2015:

    […] who makes up the group that conservatives want to pay more? The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center tackled the question last summer, finding that nearly half are elderly and a third are working poor taking deductions […]

  204. No Longer The “Gimme Election” – 1worker1vote.org  ::  3:06 pm on April 7th, 2015:

    […] four out of five households not owing federal income tax earn less than $30,000, according to the Tax Policy Center”…  so mostly “old retired folks and poor working families”…and mostly living in […]