There’s a new Statistics of Income Bulletin out, with preliminary numbers from the filing season showing the number and percentage of “lucky duckies” who file tax returns showing that they owed no federal income tax all year:

Tax YearNumber of Zero-Tax FilersZero-Tax Filers as a Percent of All Filers
42,500,00032.6%
43,800,00032.6%
45,700,00033.0%
46,600,00032.6%
51,600,00036.3%
58,600,00041.7%
58,400,00040.9%
53,700,00036.9%

In other news…

  • The IRS is among the agencies being hit by the budget “sequester” everyone’s been gabbing about. If Congress doesn’t pass yet another piece of misguided legislation further on down the road (big if, that), the agency will need to lop about $600 million out of its budget. They’re hoping to make some of these cuts not to their operational budget but to the payouts it makes to people in the form of refundable tax credits and informer payoffs (which at least one commentator thinks the agency has no authority to do).
  • The Obama administration and the various government agencies and government-funded programs that are facing sequester-related budget cuts are making shameless use of “The Washington Monument Ploy” in which they claim the cuts will necessitate threats to the most popular, picturesque, and sentimental parts of their spending.
  • The military-industrial complex has been particularly shameful about this ploy, with Obama as its spokesman. “Already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf,” he claimed, which would be delightful if it weren’t bullshit. Turns out, though, that it actually is easier for the Pentagon to make abrupt cuts to mission-critical operations (things the military just happens to do for historical reasons, like fight wars) than to cut corporate welfare political pork projects (the real meat & potatoes).
  • Julian Nick of Party of the Uncertain reflects on a tax resistance seminar led by Jack Payden-Travers at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker earlier this month. Nick considers the value of symbolic protest, and finds similarities between the tax resisters and direct action activists like the Plowshares movement.
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