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More Detail on Who Pays Federal Income Taxes

On Monday, we growled about the meaning of 'fair share' after reviewing the IRS data for the percentage of federal income taxes paid by percentile groupings. If the data wasn’t sufficiently detailed  for you, a report (Fiscal Fact No. 135) from the Tax Foundation may be more to your liking. Two of the tables were:

  • Table 2 lists the number of federal individual tax returns filed with positive AGI for the years 1980-2006. For example, in 1980, there were 932,000 filers in the top 1% of AGI, but by 2006, the number of filers in the top 1% has grown to almost 1.4 million.
  • Table 7 provides the AGI of taxpayers in various income brackets from 1980 to 2006. In 1980, for example, the “dollar cut-off” for the top 5% of taxpayers was an AGI of $43,792. By 2006, the cut-off or minimum AGI for the top 5% of taxpayers was $153,542. For those in the top 25% of taxpayers, the cut-off point in 1980 was an AGI of  $23,606 and in 2006, the cut-off or minimum AGI was $64,702.

Anyone wishing to crunch numbers, there is an (.xls) spreadsheet as well as links to several other analyses.

For taxpayers who listen to the political panjandrums who sing the siren song of taxing the rich, beware the cut-off for the top 50% of taxpayers in 2006 is only an AGI of $31,987. Those folks may want to check the AGI number on their last federal tax return; they may be surprised to find themselves among the rich.


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