The bottom 40 percent of households paid minus 9.1 percent in taxes while receiving nearly $19,000 on average in government benefits in 2010, according to a new study by the Congressional Budget Office.
On the other hand, the top 40 percent of households paid 106.2 percent of the nation's net income taxes in 2010, according to the CBO study entitled The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes 2010.
"When refundable tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, exceed the other federal tax liabilities of the households in an income group, those households are said to have a negative average tax rate,
” said the CBO study.
In other words, taxpayers in the top 40 percent of households paid more than 100 percent of net federal income taxes in 2010 because Americans in the bottom 40 percent actually paid negative income taxes by the time their tax breaks and other benefits were figured in.
The CBO study also showed that the top 20 percent of income earners paid a staggering 92.9 percent of net income tax revenues in 2010.
The study said that the benefits, or "government transfers" as the CBO called them, to the lowest-earning households included unemployment insurance, Medicare and Social Security, Medicaid and food stamps.
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