Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of US households it's simply somebody else's problem. About 47% will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions, and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That's according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.
Most people still are required to file returns by the April 15 deadline, but for many it's advisable anyway, since doing so just means collecting a big refund. In recent years, credits for low- and middle-income families have grown so much that a family of four can make as much as $50,000 and not owe a cent in federal taxes. "We have 50% of people who are getting something for nothing," said one tax policy analyst. Note that most people who escape federal income taxes still pay Social Security, Medicare, or state taxes.