The Associated Press recently ran an article that stated that 47% of Americans will pay no income tax for 2009. I think most Americans would be fine if those truly living in poverty, 10% of the American households, did not pay any income tax…but that means that 37% of households above the poverty level are paying no income tax. The article claims that a good chunk are those families who make $50,000 or less, have multiple kids, and other deductions. I have a hard time believing that these types of families make up 37%. I know quite a few elderly and young individuals who make less than $50,000, e-file and definitely pay income taxes. That implies that a good number of wealthy households fall into the non-paying tax bracket. This might include those families with wealth locked up in businesses where they can shelter income from taxation by deducting “company” expenses.
This seems to be a rather terribly unjust statistic. If you squeeze the middle and upper-middle class anymore, I would hope that there would be more feedback to our check-writing politicians. At the very least, why don’t we get a real study of just who is paying taxes in America. Break the cohorts up by income level and make sure to account for taxes paid on purchases, state taxes, local taxes, property taxes etc. I think that level of detail should be provided to individuals who work half of the year for our beloved government.