It's one of those statistics that news folks tend to skip.....roughly 45-percent of Americans don't pay anything on federal taxes. It adds up to around 77-million households.
They might have made enough in some cases to require the form submission, but when you add up credits....they zero out.
Oddly, I can go back all the way to 1978 and remember submitting my tax form in the spring of that period for five months of pay with the Air Force....feeling silly to waste time on filling out the form and to admit a total pay situation of roughly $5,000. That was the only time in my life where I paid nothing. I looked at the refund check as simply a 'gift'.
I sat there in 1979....a year later, and figured I'd just repeat the whole episode, and that $400 of pre-paid tax-money would ALL come back to me. I was wrong....I still ended up paying roughly $180 that year in taxes. It was an amazingly low amount of money but it just made no sense.
Are these 77-million households avoiding all taxes? No. They still meet up with property, car and sales taxes. For a lot of them, they are still throwing a thousand dollars a year toward their state government in various ways.
If you think about this....no one in America is truly living a tax-free lifestyle. Either through the federal folks, the state folks, or sales-taxes...you are paying into some pot. It's virtually impossible to skip out entirely.