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Who are Mitt Romney’s 47 percent? A breakdown
Less than elegant » There’s some overlap among three groups, but they are quite distinct.


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Those who pay no federal income tax

What Romney said » "Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax."

Romney’s about on target — 46 percent of U.S. households paid no federal income tax last year, according to a study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Most do pay other federal taxes, including Medicare and Social Security withholding. And they’re not all poor. Some middle-income and wealthy families escape income tax because of deductions, credits and investment tax preferences.

Why they don’t pay:

About half don’t earn enough money for a household of their size to owe income tax. For example, a family of four earning less than $26,400 would owe no taxes using the standard exemptions and deductions.

About 22 percent » Get tax breaks for senior citizens that offset their income.

About 15 percent » Get tax breaks for the working poor or low-income parents.


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Almost 3 percent » Get tax breaks for college tuition or other education expenses.

Who they are:

The vast majority have below-average earnings: Among all who don’t owe, 9 out of 10 make $50,000 or less.

But some of the wealthy escape taxes, including about 4,000 households earning more than $1 million a year.



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