What do you call a registered taxpayer with no outstanding tax-liability?

I'll explain my hesitation with the term taxpayer: I take that payer means someone who pays money, so a taxpayer is someone who pays their taxes. If they have completed all of their tax responsibilities then there is nothing left to pay, so that they are not in the position as a taxpayer anymore, until in another future time when they have a new tax obligation to pay for. In the meantime, they are just a registered person in the state tax department's database.

What do you call a person or organization in that position? Is there a term for it?

Edit: The context here is income tax. Registered taxpayer in this context means those who already have taxpayer identification number. By outstanding tax-liability I mean the liable tax the taxpayer need to pay when filing his tax return form.

  • 1
    The official term seems to be tax payer, irrespective of whether or not tax is paid. But I agree that the question is interesting. Nov 21, 2014 at 12:54
  • 2
    Obligation is transient, it can change anytime, it can also change based on assessment, what stays is his status as 'tax-payer,' even when the tax amount incidentally works out to nil.
    – Kris
    Nov 21, 2014 at 13:01
  • However, there could be a way to refer to such individuals. Why try a related Q&A site?
    – Kris
    Nov 21, 2014 at 13:01
  • Did you mean money.stackexchange.com?
    – aff
    Nov 21, 2014 at 13:05
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    I've never heard the term "registered taxpayer" in my life. Registered voter, yes. In the US, even illegal immigrants pay taxes, you can't get away from it. Try filling up your gas tank, or buying a burger at McDonald's - you'll pay the tax, or you won't receive your goods. A person that owns real estate has to pay property taxes, and a person that owns a motor vehicle is required to pay a registration fee, yearly, to operate said vehicle on the road. But a "Registered Taxpayer"? Nov 4, 2016 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


'Taxpayer' in this sense is a government's equivalent of 'customer' or 'client'. You may have paid for everything you have recieved from a given company and have no orders outstanding but still be regarded as a customer (they will still send you catalogues and offers).

A analagous situation exists where a taxpayer is currently assessed as having no tax liability. The tax authorities will keep him on record and, if his income goes up, they will re-assess his liability. If he is registered as self-employed they will require an annual tax return (which can be regarded as an analogue of sending out the catalogue) even if processing the return still leaves him with a zero liability

The point is that even people on such low incomes that they are assessed as having no liability to pay tax are not exempt from tax and could find themselves paying tax on the same income if the rules change. This means that they are affected by government policy, and the way in which they vote (assuming that they live in a democratic country) can be affected by manifesto commitments on tax because they could see themselves becoming liable under some regimes.

In practice there are very few people in most advanced countries who pay no tax as most governments impose purchase taxes such as Value Added Tax (VAT) on at least some goods. There is a vaguely interesting side to VAT in that some goods can be VAT exempt while a larger number are zero rated. This leads to both exempt and zero rated goods having no VAT charged but the difference is that the status of zero-rated goods can be changed much more easily.

  • I up voted your answer because you addressed multiple taxes. The OP didn't specify only Income Tax, or Property Tax. The OP's question seemed to assume that only people that paid a certain tax were actual tax payers, but didn't specify which tax. Every time I purchase something I pay a sales tax - does that not make me a tax payer? Nov 4, 2016 at 9:10
  • Thank you for the customer/client analogy in the first paragraph. It illustrates the case perfectly. In my part, I confused the term 'taxpayer' with the action 'pay'; essentially mixing a sense of time to a noun.
    – aff
    Nov 4, 2016 at 20:38

In common English use, "taxpayer" includes people who do not currently owe taxes (but may have in the past, or may in the future). In other words, a taxpayer may not have a liability in the context of a particular year's income tax return, but may have paid tax before, or may in the future.

Note: This is what I have gathered from the comments here and in Money.SE. The Money.SE topic itself has been closed as off-topic.

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