Quick Fact: Hannity perpetuates false claim that 50 percent of households "don't pay taxes"
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Sean Hannity again repeated the false claim that "50 percent of [households] aren't paying taxes." In fact, while the Tax Policy Center has estimated that 47 percent of American households pay no federal income taxes, the "vast majority" of these households reportedly pay other federal taxes.
From the April 15 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: Here's what I don't understand, 50 percent of people aren't paying taxes, households, 50 percent of households are. Where does this end? 50 percent of people say that tax rates are about fair, 50 percent say it's not fair. So the people that are paying say it's not fair, the people that are not paying say it's fair.
Fact: Nearly half of U.S. households pay no federal income taxes, but most pay other taxes
Tax Policy Center: 47 percent of U.S. households will pay no federal income tax this year. In a June 29, 2009, report, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) stated that "[e]arlier this year, [President] Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5), which, among other things, temporarily put into place some of the refundable credits proposed during the campaign. TPC estimates that under the new law, 47 percent of tax units will owe no income tax in 2009." The Associated Press cited that statistic in an April 7 article, noting that "their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability."
AP: "[V]ast majority of people who escape federal income taxes still pay other taxes." The AP further wrote that "[t]he vast majority of people who escape federal income taxes still pay other taxes, including federal payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare, and excise taxes on gasoline, aviation, alcohol and cigarettes. Many also pay state or local taxes on sales, income and property."
Hannity made similar false claims on previous shows
Hannity, April 8: "50 percent of Americans no longer pay taxes. They don't pay income taxes." On the April 8 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity said: "But there was a big report today. It came up on the AP. It was the Drudge headline last night before I went to bed. And I got here in Grand Rapids, and I'm reading the Internet, and 50 percent of Americans no longer pay taxes. They don't pay income taxes. So we -- and it seems like, at this point, what incentive is there going to be for the people that are paying taxes?"
Hannity, April 9: "50 percent of American households no longer pay taxes." On the April 9 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity again said, "You know, we saw stories this week where people were saying, all right, health care, where do I sign up for my free Obama health care? We saw stories this week, 50 percent of American households no longer pay taxes. What does that mean for America if you have a voting electorate that's not paying any taxes?"
Hannity, April 12: "50 percent of the American people... don't pay taxes anymore." On the April 12 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity said that "50 percent of the American people, household in America, don't pay taxes anymore."
Andrew Sandquist is an intern with Media Matters for America.