Federal taxes on middle-income Americans are near historic lows, according to the latest available data. That’s true both for federal income taxes and total federal taxes.
- Income taxes: A family of four in the exact middle of the income spectrum will pay only 5.6 percent of its 2011 income in federal income taxes, according to a new analysis by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center.  Average income tax rates for these typical families have been lower during the Bush and Obama Administrations than at any time since the 1950s, as Figure 1 shows. (As discussed below, 2009 and 2010 were particularly low because of the temporary Making Work Pay Tax Credit.)
- Overall federal taxes: Overall federal taxes — which include income as well as payroll and excise taxes — on middle-income households are near their lowest levels in decades, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).