This is a post I wrote last year. Based on Gov. Romney’s recent remarks, I thought it should be brought back.
Talk about tax reform is everywhere. "Taxes aren't fair!" and "need to go". And key to the arguments of the Tea Party, other reformers and pot stirrers everywhere is the Tax Policy Center's report that in 2011, about 47% of all taxpayers paid no Federal income tax. That has a lot of taxpayers mad because what they heard and has been repeated is that 47% didn't pay Federal income any tax. And in order to fuel the anti-tax fire and win elections, the anger has been shifted from the tax code to pointing fingers at classes and types of people. "He didn't pay any taxes!" That's not fair! Get a rope! "Those People" should be stoned!
Before you throw anything, I have a question. Do you really know who you are stoning?
Are you sure that you aren't in that 47%? Do you really know what tax you paid and not just what your refund or balance due was? Before you start hollering about the tax credits "those people" used to pay no tax, check your return. Did you take advantage of those credits too? How much would you be paying in tax without that credit? Are you living in a glass tax house?
So now you're sure that you really did pay some federal income tax, but before you pick up that stone to throw at those awful people who paid no taxes, I would suggest you check your target. You could be aiming at your children or grandchildren or parent. There is that nice young man who picks up your trash, or the teacher's aide in your son's classe, or your favorite greeter at Wal-Mart. It could also be your boss or the owner of a business. If you want to take out your tax frustrations on the 47%, it's only fair to include everyone who benefited not just the ones you don't like.
Look at the facts. That Tax Policy Center report covered Federal income tax only. That 47% still paid into Social Security and Medicare, paid sales taxes, local property taxes and in most cases paid state income taxes. And the report found taxpayers in every income level and filing status who didn't pay any Federal income tax. Most of those taxpayers simply took advantage of current tax laws and legally paid no tax.
We need Federal tax reform. What we don't need to do is target taxpayers who are taking advantage of deductions and credits we don't qualify for. Let's face it; if you could qualify you would be using those same credits and deductions. Put your frustration and anger to solving the tax code problem and not throwing stones.
FYI-The link to the Tax Policy Center includes a nice pie chart that breaks down the credits and deductions being used to reduce taxes for the 47%.