The infamous 47 percent is actually the 43 percent, according to a 2013 report by the Tax Policy Center.
The center reports that 43 percent of Americans pay no income tax – not 47 percent as Mitt Romney suggested in his ill-fated bid for the U.S. Presidency in 2012.
Romney’s numbers were accurate in 2009, but the number of Americans paying income taxes has steadily been on the rise since then. The Tax Policy Center reports that two things are responsible for the steady increase. First, some federal tax cuts expired during the Great Recession, and second, an improving economy has lifted some Americans’ earnings to a level that requires income tax payment.
Welcome to the party, newbies. The increase in the number of Americans who pay income taxes is welcome news, but it isn’t quite enough. It’s important to note that the majority of the 43 percent do pay some taxes – it’s difficult to escape sales, property and payroll taxes. The poorest also pay a greater percentage of taxes on gasoline, alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets, according to the American Enterprise Institute.
So just who are the 43 percent? Who are these folks who don’t pay income tax? Might be your neighbor.
According to the Tax Policy Center, about half earned too little to pay income taxes. The remainder likely qualified for breaks like the earned income tax credit (EITC) or child tax credit. Those credits eliminated their income tax hit.
Approximately 14 percent of households escape both income and payroll taxes, but two-thirds of those are the elderly, according to the Tax Policy Center.
We believe anyone who earns an income should be required to pay an income tax – if the income tax is to exist at all. Everyone should feel ownership in our society, but that’s impossible if a narrow majority is footing the bill for the other half.