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More than 44% of Americans pay no federal income tax


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02/08/2019

美國近半民眾 免付聯邦所得稅

(World Journal) 編譯馬永慶

大約7640萬美國人,也就是44.4%不用支付2018年聯邦所得稅。(Getty Images)

報稅季節本周開始,直至4月15日。根據稅務政策中心的估計,大約7640萬美國人(44.4%)不用支付2018年聯邦所得稅,多於2016年減稅和就業法案未頒布前的7260萬人(43.2%)。雖然這比大蕭條時期的50%高峰期少,但民眾顯然仍要支付銷售稅、房產稅等其他稅。

稅務政策中心指出,那麼高比率的人不用繳聯邦所得稅,是稅法的一種特色,而不是錯誤。聯邦所得稅原本就是透過結合個人免稅額、標準扣除額、零稅級和抵稅,使很多家庭免稅。

布魯金斯學會高級研究員布特萊斯(Gary Burtless)說,不用繳交聯邦所得稅者包括單身人士、合併或不合併報稅的已婚夫婦。在大多數情況下,這是因他們賺的錢不到報稅門檻。雖然許多人不用付聯邦所得稅,但仍從薪水扣除社安金和聯邦醫療保險(Medicare)稅。


    
   
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布特萊斯說,許多低收入和收入低於平均的家庭,每年支付的工資稅高於聯邦所得稅,所以在說明美國家庭的稅負時要小心。美國的個人所得稅是累進制,隨著收入增加,稅率也越重,而收入墊底的人稅率很低,甚至是負稅率。

根據丕優研究中心引用的財政部數據,除收入最高的20%家庭外,其餘家庭所付的工資稅均高於聯邦所得稅。該中心表示,在計算所有聯邦稅後,美國的整個稅收制度是累進制,收入最高的0.1%家庭支付相當於全國所得稅的39.2%,收入最低的20%家庭是負稅率,也就是所獲退稅比繳稅多。\





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02/08/2019

More than 44% of Americans pay no federal income tax

The Tax Policy Center estimates how many people paid no federal individual income taxes in 2018


Tax-filing season began this week. Americans have until April 15 to file their income taxes. There’s been some good news for workers over the last year: Unemployment hovers at 3.9% and average hourly earnings rose by 3.2% on the year in December. And nearly half of Americans don’t owe a dime of federal income tax.

Approximately 76.4 million or 44.4% of Americans won’t pay any federal income tax in 2018, up from 72.6 million people or 43.2% in 2016 before President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, according to estimates from the Tax Policy Center, a nonprofit joint venture by the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, which are both Washington, D.C.-based think tanks. That’s below the 50% peak during the Great Recession. They still obviously pay sales tax, property taxes and other taxes.

“The large percentage of people who don’t owe federal income tax is a feature, not a bug, of the revenue code,” according to the Tax Policy Center. “By design, the federal income tax always has excluded a significant fraction of households through a combination of personal exemptions, the standard deduction, zero bracket amounts, and more recently, tax credits.”


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These workers who won’t owe any federal income tax include single people, married couples filing jointly and married individuals not filing jointly, said Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. For the most part, they don’t earn enough money. However, many people who work and who don’t owe any federal income taxes still give money to Uncle Sam, because money comes out of their paychecks for Social Security and Medicare, he said.

“Many low- and below-average-income families pay more in payroll taxes every year than they pay in federal income taxes,” Burtless said. “This means you have to be careful describing the federal tax liabilities of U.S. families. The U.S. individual income tax is quite progressive, with much heavier tax liabilities as we move up the income distribution and very low or even negative income tax liabilities at the bottom of the income distribution.”

“Either their taxable incomes are below the threshold at which the tax unit’s ’taxable income’ exceeds zero,” he said, “or the taxpayer qualifies for refundable tax credits — such as the Earned Income Credit and/or the Child Tax Credit — that are greater than the amount federal income tax owed, in which case the tax filer receives a tax refund or owes no federal income tax liability. Much more rarely, high-income taxpayers have adopted tax strategies that occasionally eliminate their federal income tax liability.”


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All but the top 20% of American families pay more in payroll taxes than in federal income taxes, according to Treasury Department data, cited by the Pew Research Center. “After all federal taxes are factored in, the U.S. tax system as a whole is progressive, according to Pew. “The top 0.1% of families pay the equivalent of 39.2% and the bottom 20% have negative tax rates. That is, they get more money back from the government in the form of refundable tax credits than they pay in taxes.”

On the other hand, payroll taxes are mildly regressive, Burtless said. “Individual earners do not pay any additional Social Security payroll taxes on earnings above $127,200 per year (in 2018),” he said. “The implication is that federal taxes overall are progressive, but they are far less progressive than the federal individual income tax system viewed all by itself.”

“The tax reform will no doubt affect the number of people and families who pay no federal individual income taxes and who pay no net federal income and payroll taxes,” Burtless added. The Tax Policy Center estimates that roughly one-third of workers who pay no federal individual income taxes receive a net refundable credits that covers their payroll taxes, including their employer’s share.

“About 60% of those who pay no income tax will work and owe payroll taxes,”according to Roberton Williams, an associate at the Tax Policy Center. “Most of the other 40% are retirees whose income is too low to owe income tax ...Refundable credits make it possible for some low-income households with workers to avoid paying income and payroll taxes. Even so, nearly three-quarters of Americans will end up paying at least one of those taxes this year.”








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