45% of tax filers will owe nothing in federal income taxes this year

They’re not dodging their tax obligations. It’s just the way the US tax code works.

This year, an estimated 45% of tax filers — or just under 79 million households — are likely to have zero federal income tax liability, according to the Tax Policy Center.

If the new tax law hadn’t gone into effect, the percent would have been closer to 43%. Put another way, the law added another 2.3 million households to the rolls of non-payers.

Both figures, however, come in below the 50% of non-payers recorded in 2009.

“[That] was the peak both because of the effects of the recession on employment and incomes, but also partly a result of temporary tax policies like the Making Work Pay tax credit that further reduced income tax liabilities,” said Joe Rosenberg, senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center.

Looking ahead, TPC estimates between 44% and 45% of households — or roughly 80 million — will pay no federal income tax for the next several years.


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