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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., celebrate with their spouses during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 20, 2020. (AP) Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., celebrate with their spouses during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 20, 2020. (AP)

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., celebrate with their spouses during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 20, 2020. (AP)

Bill McCarthy
By Bill McCarthy August 26, 2020

Another widespread Facebook post spreads false claims about Joe Biden’s tax plan

If Your Time is short

  • Biden has vowed not to raise taxes on people making less than $400,000 per year. 

  • An individual taxpayer making $3,000 every two weeks, or roughly $78,000 per year, would not have his or her income taxed at 39.6% under Joe Biden’s plan.

  • Biden wants to raise the top individual federal income tax rate to 39.6% from 37%. That would apply to Americans making far more annually than $78,000.

Another Facebook post is falsely claiming that former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, will hike taxes on Americans earning modest wages. 

"Say your bi-weekly gross salary is $3,000," the Aug. 23 Facebook post says. "You are giving these sad sacks 39.6% which is $1,188. Nearly half your paycheck! Forget feeding your family after you’ve paid all your bills. Are you really okay with this?"

The post is inaccurate and the latest mischaracterization by conservatives and social media users of Biden’s tax plan. It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

In reality, a single worker making $3,000 every two weeks — or $78,000 annually — would not be paying 39.6% in federal income taxes under a Biden presidency. 

Biden’s tax plan

The Facebook post includes a photo of a Fox Business Network segment on Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate. The segment listed the tax ideas Harris pitched while running for president herself, including a proposal to raise the top individual federal income tax rate, which Biden has also made. It’s not clear when the segment aired. 

But Harris didn’t propose such giant tax rate increases for lower earners as a candidate, and neither has Biden. Biden has vowed not to raise taxes for those earning less than $400,000 per year

His plan aims to raise up to $4 trillion in tax revenues over a decade, according to the Tax Policy Center, in part by rolling back some of the tax cuts for corporations and people with taxable incomes over $400,000 that President Donald Trump signed into law in 2017.

Among Biden’s proposed changes, he would:

Under current law, the top marginal federal income tax rate is 37%, which kicks in for income above $518,400 for individuals, according to the Internal Revenue Service. A 22% marginal tax rate currently applies to single filers for income over $40,125 and under $85,525.

Several independent tax groups that have examined Biden’s tax proposals have estimated that after-tax income for some lower earners could slightly decrease. But those changes would not be the result of direct increases to their tax rates.

Instead, tax analysts say the changes in after-tax income for lower earners would be mostly due to indirect effects on Biden’s raising of the corporate tax rate, such as lowered wages.

"No direct taxes are imposed on any household making less than $400,000 per year," the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget wrote in its analysis.

One March analysis from the Tax Policy Center predicted that on average, the bottom 80% of earners could wind up paying between $30 and $590 extra annually on Biden’s watch. The report estimated that over 90% of the tax increases would be borne by the top 20% of earners.

Our ruling

A Facebook post said Biden and Harris would raise the federal income tax rate for a person with a bi-weekly gross salary of $3,000 to 39.6%, costing "nearly half your paycheck."

That’s wrong. The 39.6% rate is what Biden proposed for earners in the top income tax bracket, which the IRS says includes individual single taxpayers making more than $518,400 per year. 

We rate this Facebook post False.

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Another widespread Facebook post spreads false claims about Joe Biden’s tax plan

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