A study of both presidential candidates' tax plans finds that they will both reduce millions of taxpayers' liability to zero.
According to Internal Revenue Service statistics for 2006, 45.6 million tax filers, or about one-third of all filers, have no tax liability after taking credits and deductions. "For good or ill, this is a 57 percent increase since 2000 in the number of Americans who pay no personal income taxes," wrote Scott A. Hodge, in a study for the Tax Foundation. He estimates that there will be 47 million tax returns with zero income tax liability in 2009 under current law.
The foundation's estimates show that if all of the tax provisions proposed by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, are adopted next year, the number of non-payers would rise by approximately 16 million, to a total of 63 million, or about 44 percent of all tax filers. If all the tax proposals of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., were enacted in 2009, the number of taxpayers with zero tax liability would increase a million less, by about 15 million to 62 million overall, or about 42 percent of all tax filers.
The Obama tax plan contains seven new tax provisions, including a Making Work Pay Credit, a Universal Mortgage Credit, and a plan to eliminate income taxes for seniors earning under $50,000, while McCain's health care credit offers incentives for people to buy their own health insurance.
"This tax provision has a bigger impact on cutting people's taxes than any single proposal from either party," wrote Hodge. "Obama uses a longer list of smaller tax credit ideas to reduce a similar number of taxpayers' liability to zero."
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