41.7% of American Tax Filers “Lucky Duckies” in 2009

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%

You’re reading that right: 41.7 percent of all households who filed tax returns last year owed no federal income tax at all for the entire tax year. That doesn’t mean they didn’t owe any extra on , but that they didn’t owe any federal income tax at all on the income they earned in . If you paid your income taxes you should feel like a chump.


Around the middle of April as the federal income tax filing deadline approaches, tax resistance articles hit the media frequently. Here are some examples from past years:

“Tax Deadline Brings Protest And Ice Cream” The [Sumter, South Carolina] Daily Item
A post-tax-day wrap-up quotes war tax resister Ed Hedemann, and also Jack O’Malley, one of three Catholic priests in Pittsburgh who were refusing to pay war taxes.
“Farmer tries to pay his taxes with grain”
A news report on tax day protests includes a mention of “Seven Pittsburgh priests [who] will refuse to pay about a third of their federal income taxes in a protest against the nuclear arms race” and of war tax resister Ralph Dull, who “drove a truck filled with 325 bushels of corn to the IRS office in Dayton” in lieu of cash payment.
“Protesters resist military taxes” The [Pennsylvania State University] Daily Collegian
Rita Snyder, Kathy Levine, and Donald Ealy quoted about the war tax resistance movement.
“War tax resisters refuse to pay Uncle Sam” The Nevada Daily Mail
Bill Ramsey, Jenny Truax, Rebekah Hassler, Tom & Suzanne Makarewicz, and Mary Loehr mentioned and/or quoted.
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