Democrats wasted no time attacking Mitt Romney yesterday after he revealed that he "probably" pays about 15% of his income in taxes. The DNC put out a memo claiming a person making $60,000 a year pays nearly 30%, and President Obama's SuperPAC released a webvideo claiming that Romney pays a lower rate than "what many middle class families pay." Both these claims are substantively false.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the total average federal tax rate for the middle quintile of Americans is 14.3%. This includes all federal taxes, including Social Security and death taxes, not just income taxes. If we look at just income taxes, the middle quintile of Americans pay just 3.3%.
The bottom two quintiles pay even less in taxes. The total average federal rate for the lowest quintile is 4% and the rate for the second quintile 10.6%.
A Tax Foundation analysis IRS data found that the average income tax rate for returns with a positive liability is 11.06 percent.
Of course, it is technically possible for someone earning $60,000 to pay nearly 30% in taxes, but they would have to have the worst accountant in the world.