Americans agonize each spring over their annual federal income tax returns. In terms of how much tax they pay, however, they should worry more about the payroll taxes their employers withhold from every paycheck. After all, three-quarters of those who pay one or both taxes shell out more for payroll taxes than for income tax.
The Tax Policy Center estimates that 44 percent of households will pay no federal income tax this year (down from the 47 percent famously cited by Mitt Romney in 2012). But 60 percent of those households have members who work and will thus pay Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. As the light blue block shows, that’s about one-quarter of all households.