WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. payroll taxes increase, taking effect at the beginning of January, cut the take-home pay of many working Americans and dampened consumption especially for the vulnerable, said an industry survey released Thursday.
The 2013 Tax Returns Survey conducted by BIGinsight found that 73.3 percent of those polled said their spending plans were taking a hit because of the new federal tax laws.
The payroll tax rate returned to 6.2 percent from 4.2 percent after the "fiscal cliff negotiations" in early January. The two-percentage increase translates an additional two thousand dollars a year in payroll deductions for an average household earning ten thousand dollars a year.
And those who earned less suffered more. The survey found 50.0 percent of those who make less than 50,000 dollars a year said they will spend less overall. Additionally, 23.2 percent will spend less on groceries, compared to 16.7 percent of consumers who make more than 50,000 a dollars year.
The previous tax holiday aimed to stimulate spending in 2011 after the financial crisis and extended in 2012. Although it was designed as temporary, the recent tax increase came at a time when the U.S. economy still underwent an anemic recovery.
Some economists estimate that the restored tax will reduce disposable income by about 120 billion dollars and cut half a percentage point from economic growth in the first quarter. It is a blow heavy enough for the economy expected to expand only 1 to 2 percent in the first half of 2013.
"We cannot grow the nation's economy until consumers consume," said U.S. National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay. "A smaller paycheck due to the fiscal cliff deal early last month, higher gas prices, low consumer confidence and ongoing uncertainty about our nation's fiscal health is negatively impacting consumers and businesses across the country."
The survey commissioned by NRF was conducted from February 5 to 13, 2013, polling 5,185 consumers for their behavior and shopping trends related to tax returns.