Millionaires Go Missing
August 22, 2011
In 2007, 390,000 tax filers reported adjusted gross income of $1 million or more and paid $309 billion in taxes. In 2009, there were only 237,000 such filers, a decline of 39 percent. Almost four of 10 millionaires vanished in two years, and the total taxes they paid in 2009 declined to $178 billion, a drop of 42 percent, says the Wall Street Journal.
- Those with $10 million or more in reported income fell to 8,274 from 18,394 in 2007, a 55 percent drop. As a result, their tax payments tanked by 51 percent.
- These disappearing millionaires go a long way toward explaining why federal tax revenues have sunk to 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in recent years.
- The loss of millionaires accounts for at least $130 billion of the higher federal budget deficit in 2009.
But the millionaires who are left still pay a mountain of tax.
- Those who make $1 million accounted for about 0.2 percent of all tax returns but paid 20.4 percent of income taxes in 2009.
- Those with adjusted gross income above $200,000 a year were just under 3 percent of tax filers but paid 50.1 percent of the $866 billion in total personal income taxes.
- Before the recession, the $200,000 income group paid 54.5 percent of the income tax.
- This means the top 3 percent paid more than the bottom 97 percent, yet the 3 percent are the people that President Obama claims don't pay their fair share.
Source: "Millionaires Go Missing," Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2011.
Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues