Thursday, November 27th, 2014

PolitiFact audits three tax claims

As the April 15 deadline to file federal income taxes arrived, some pushed it until the last minute.
As the April 15 deadline to file federal income taxes arrived, some pushed it until the last minute.

The annual tax filing deadline of April 15 brought out scores of tax protesters and provided a springboard for  tax-related political rhetoric.

We jumped into the fray with three tax fact checks. (Say that fast three times).

We started with a statement from Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich, who told an audience at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference that when the United States "first created the federal income tax, frankly, nobody below a million dollars a year paid anything." We found that even adjusted for inflation that claim didn't hold up, and we rated it False.

We then headed north to look into a claim made by former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin at a tea party event in Boston. She said, "Americans now spend 100 days out of the year working for government before we even start working for ourselves." This statistic sets off an annual war of words between competing tax and budget think tanks, but we found that Palin avoided the most problematic wording often cited by politicians, and we rated her claim Mostly True.

And last, we looked at a claim from Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., who was quoted in an Associated Press tax story saying, "The fact is, in the past year we have had more tax cuts than almost anytime in our nation's history." Our audit of that statement found that while the Making Work Pay tax credit resulted in a substantial tax cut for most working Americans this year, Congress this year also passed a health care reform bill that includes some tax hikes, most of which won't kick in for a couple more years. We rated that one Half True.