There are frequent misleading statements about which income group pays no income tax. In particular, conservative pundits persistently repeat their mantra that the bottom 45% income level pays no tax. This is merely political overstatement. And, incorrect.
Here are three interesting sources of information to the contrary:
According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, taking into account federal, state, and local taxes , the bottom 20% of households pay 16 percent of their income in taxes, on average. This is an excellent, evenhanded discussion about this income tax rate issue.
The Citizens for Tax Justice computes this bottom 20% household rate at about 17.4%. This is fairly consistent with the above rates.
Yesterday’s NYT Op-Ed, captioned “Finding the Limits of Empathy, refers to the above two studies and is a worthwhile read on this subject of political overstatement.