NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Highest Income Earners Pay Most Taxes

October 18, 2000

New Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data obtained by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) show that the top one percent of tax filers by income paid a larger share of federal personal income tax revenues in 1998 than the previous year.

"The data publicly released by the JEC today reflect the steeply progressive impact of the federal income tax," said Vice Chairman Jim Saxton. The data show the distribution of the tax burden by income group, or, in other words, the share of total federal personal income taxes paid by each income group:

  • The top one percent paid 34.75 percent of federal personal income taxes in 1998, the latest year for which data are available, compared to the 33.17 percent share they paid in 1997 and the 33 percent share they paid in 1993.
  • To rank in the top 1 percent, you had to report adjusted gross income (AGI) of $269,496 or more for 1998.
  • The top 5 percent of taxpayers paid about 54 percent of total personal-income taxes and had AGI of at least $114,729.

The top 10 percent of taxpayers by income had AGI of $83,220 or more. The top 50 percent of taxpayers had AGI of at least $25,491. The 4.21 percent share paid by the bottom half of taxpayers was virtually unchanged during this period.

Source: Tom Herman, "Upper-Income Taxpayers," Tax Report, Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2000; Press Release, "New IRS Data On Income Tax Shares Now Available," October 16, 2000, Joint Economic Committee.


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