The poorest Americans are subject to a tax rate at the state and local level that is twice as high as the tax rate paid by the wealthiest earners thanks to “fundamentally unfair” state tax laws, according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). Middle-class taxpayers also pay higher effective rates than the wealthy.
When state, local, property, and sales taxes are taken into account, the poorest 20 percent of Americans pay an average effective tax rate of 11.1 percent, the report found. The middle 20 percent pays a 9.4 percent rate, while the rate for the top 1 percent is just 5.6 percent. The lack of progressive income taxes and an over-reliance on consumption taxes are the primary culprit, the report says.