In economics, a negative income tax (NIT) is a welfare system within an income tax where people earning below a certain amount receive supplemental pay from the government instead of paying taxes to the government.
Such a system has been discussed by economists but never fully implemented. According to surveys however, the consensus view among economists is that the “government should restructure the welfare system along the lines” of one. It was described by British politician Juliet Rhys-Williams in the 1940s and later by American free-market economist Milton Friedman.
Negative income taxes can implement a basic income or supplement a guaranteed minimum income system.
In a negative income tax system, people earning a certain income level would owe no taxes; those earning more than that would pay a proportion of their income above that level; and those below that level would receive a payment of a proportion of their shortfall, which is the amount their income falls below that level.