Policy Documents

What Do Corporate Income Taxes Cost American Families?

Tax Foundation staff –
August 18, 2008

Ask a typical family about the taxes they pay, and they’ll likely focus on America’s biggest and most visible taxes: property taxes at home, sales taxes at the store, and income and payroll taxes deducted from their paychecks at work.

One tax they’re likely to ignore is the corporate income tax. And the reason is simple: most who pay corporate income taxes aren’t even aware that they exist. But although corporate taxes are invisible to the average taxpayer, they quietly tap family pocketbooks for nearly $370 billion per year in the form of higher prices, lower wages and poorer returns on investments.

“Most people think corporate income taxes are paid by wealthy, anonymous companies,” said Scott Hodge, President of the Tax Foundation. “But as economists have been teaching for centuries, people bear the burden of corporate taxes, not companies.”