Negative Income Tax - NIT


DEFINITION of 'Negative Income Tax - NIT'

A guaranteed minimum income plan advocated by economist Milton Friedman in 1962 where federal income subsidies are provided to persons or families whose income falls below a certain level. Negative income tax (NIT) would allow claimants to receive income through the simple filing of tax returns rather than through the claiming of welfare benefits, ideally eliminating the need for a complex welfare bureaucracy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Negative Income Tax - NIT'

The primary criticism of the negative income tax is that it discourages some low-income individuals from working. If one can receive $2,500 from the government for not working at all versus $5,000 for dozens of hours of work, some people will choose to not work because they would rather have more leisure time even if it means less money and an inability to meet basic living expenses.

Another criticism is that a negative income tax system cannot eliminate the complexities associated with the welfare system because the taxpayers who fund the subsidies demand accountability from the taxpayers who receive the subsidies. This demand necessitates a complex system of rules and oversight intended to prevent abuse of the system.

  1. Ability To Pay

    An economic principle stating that the amount of tax an individual ...
  2. Income Tax

    A tax that governments impose on financial income generated by ...
  3. Write-Off

    A reduction in the value of an asset or earnings by the amount ...
  4. Horizontal Equity

    An economic theory that states that individuals with similar ...
  5. 1040 Form

    The standard Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form that individuals ...
  6. Exemption

    A deduction allowed by law to reduce the amount of income that ...
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Before You Visit Your Tax Preparer: Do This

    The earlier you start preparing your tax records and documents, the more likely you are to have a smooth tax return experience – and all the tax benefits you're due.
  2. Taxes

    Surviving The IRS Audit

    Keeping thorough records and knowing the penalties make this experience easier than you'd expect.
  3. Taxes

    Dividend Tax Rates: What Investors Need To Know

    Find out how legislation enacted in 2003 is benefiting both investors and corporations, and when it's scheduled to expire.
  4. Taxes

    The Ultimate Tax-Time Checklist

    Find out what information you need to pull together before filling out your return.
  5. Taxes

    Top 9 Solutions To An Unexpected Tax Bill

    Finding out you owe when you expected a refund is a nasty shock. Find out how to cope.
  6. Taxes

    The History Of Taxes In The U.S.

    The number of taxes that we now consider a given did not always exist. Find out how they arose.
  7. Taxes

    Avoiding Tax Scams

    These schemes can lead to fines - and even jail time - for both the scammer and his victims.
  8. Taxes

    Here's How to Deduct Your Stock Losses From Your Tax Bill

    Learn the proper procedure for deducting stock investing losses, and get some tips on how to strategically take losses to lower your income tax bill.
  9. Taxes

    The 5 Countries Without Income Taxes

    Discover information on some of the best countries to consider relocating to that offer the financial benefit of charging no income tax.
  10. Fundamental Analysis

    7 Ways to Create a Tax-Efficient Portfolio

    Taxes may be a necessary evil, but that doesn't mean they can't be reduced. Here's a host of smart moves today's investors can make.
  1. Why is Panama considered a tax haven?

    The Republic of Panama is considered one of the most well-established pure tax havens in the Caribbean due to extensive legislation ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do financial advisors prepare tax returns for clients?

    Financial advisors engage in a wide variety of financial areas, including tax return preparation and tax planning for their ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How are variable annuities taxed at death?

    If the owner of a variable annuity dies before receiving full payment, his beneficiary must pay taxes on any earnings received. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do I calculate insurance premium tax?

    In the United States, consumers do not pay any additional tax on health insurance premiums. However, your insurance premiums ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can I find tax-exempt mutual funds?

    Tax-exempt mutual funds can be found at many prominent investment firms. Most mutual funds offer a variety of investment ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Are dividends considered passive or ordinary income?

    Despite the fact that earning dividends requires no active participation on the part of the shareholder, they do not meet ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  2. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  3. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  4. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  5. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  6. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!