Roughly 57% of U.S. households paid no federal income tax in 2021, and 19% of Americans paid neither payroll nor federal income taxes in 2021, according to the Tax Policy Center.
For 2022, the Tax Policy Center estimates that about 47% won’t pay federal income taxes.
The share of American households paying no federal income tax rose to more than 60% in 2020 due in part to massive COVID-19 pandemic job losses.
Before the pandemic, 44% paid no federal income tax.
Tax Policy Center senior fellow Howard Gleckman said in addition to pandemic job losses, a decline in incomes, stimulus checks and tax credits contributed to the large number of households paying no federal income tax.
“Combined, all this substantially reduced the income tax liability of more than a hundred million households and temporarily turned many from payers of small amounts of federal income tax to non-payers,” Gleckman said.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wants to require all American households to pay some federal income tax as part of his Rescue America plan.
“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax,” Scott said.
Gleckman called Scott’s plan “silly.”
“The reason people don’t pay federal income tax is that they don’t make enough money,” he said.
TPC estimates that the lowest-income households — less than about $27,000 annually — would pay an average of nearly $1,000 more in taxes in 2022, reducing their after-tax incomes by nearly 6%.
TPC said low-income families with children would pay the most under Scott’s plan. His plan would slash their after-tax incomes by more than $5,000, or more than 20%.
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