Many Americans don’t have to worry about giving Uncle Sam part of their hard-earned cash for their income taxes this year.
An estimated 45.3 percent of American households — roughly 77.5 million — will pay no federal individual income tax, according to data for the 2015 tax year from the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington-based research group. (Note that this does not necessarily mean they won’t owe their states income tax.)
Roughly half pay no federal income tax because they have no taxable income, and the other roughly half get enough tax breaks to erase their tax liability, explains Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.
Despite the fact that rich people paying little in the way of income taxes makes plenty of headlines, this is the exception to the rule: The top 1 percent of taxpayers pay a higher effective income tax rate than any other group (around 23 percent, according to a report released by the Tax Policy Center in 2014) — nearly seven times higher than those in the bottom 50 percent.