Democrats have slammed Romney’s remark, saying the former Massachusetts governor essentially wrote off almost half of the country
But at the same time, the majority of those households do pay some taxes, be it payroll taxes or state and local levies. The 2009 Tax Foundation poll only asks whether everyone should be required to pay some amount of taxes.
The Tax Policy Center estimates that roughly six out of 10 of the households that don’t pay income tax do pay payroll taxes.
The elderly are also a large chunk of the population that don’t pay income taxes. According to TPC data, around half of the households that had no income tax liability in 2011 did so through the use of tax breaks.
Of those, around 44 percent used preferences that benefit the elderly, such as a bigger standard deduction and the ability to exclude Social Security payments.
The 2009 Tax Foundation poll was an online survey of 2,002 adults, and was conducted by Harris Interactive.