Many Americans didn’t pay federal income tax

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many Americans can finally put tax season behind them.  However, for nearly half, they avoided the burden of paying federal income tax.

The nation’s Tax Policy Center estimates 43% of Americans paid no federal income tax in 2013.  For a lot of residents in western Massachusetts, that number is alarming.

“It’s just not fair. Why should everyone else get a free ride when I’m working class citizen and I’m the one who’s getting hammered every week,” said Fred Maywald of Chicopee.

Robert Williams of the Tax Policy Center says who’s exempt varies widely by filing status, age and if there are any children in the household.

“I know there’s a lot of people who don’t pay income tax because they simply don’t earn enough money, so they’re exempt from that,” said Gail Dunn of Monson.

Dunn is right. Single people have the lowest incomes, but they actually get fewer tax breaks than other groups. Heads of households made around $32,000  in 2013.   Nearly 70% paid no income tax because of the several child-related provisions in the tax code.

For those who do pay, they say not only is it a big chunk of change, but they question where their money really goes.

“I just don’t think they really use the money for what they say they do. I mean they take a lot of money but they cut so many things every year that they say that they’re paying for with our money,” said Stephanie O’Dell of Wilbraham.

The website National Priorities estimates about half of your federal income tax dollars go the US Military and Health Care.  The Tax Policy Center says by 2024, they predict only 34% of Americans will be exempt from paying federal income tax.

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