Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data
The Internal Revenue Service has released new data on individual income taxes, reporting on calendar year 2007, a year in which the economy remained healthy and continued to grow. Individual income tax collections increased substantially that year, while the overall average effective tax rate remained about the same.
In 2007, the top 1 percent of tax returns paid 40.4 percent of all federal individual income taxes and earned 22.8 percent of adjusted gross income. Both of those figures—share of income and share of taxes paid—are significantly higher than they were in 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) and paid 36.9 percent of federal individual income taxes.
The 2007 numbers show that the top 1 percent’s income and tax shares reached all-time highs for the third year in a row. That is likely to reverse direction when data from recessionary 2008 is published a year from now.
For the first time this year, we are also presenting data on the top 0.1% of tax returns (the top 10 percent of the top 1 percent). This 10 percent of the returns in the top 1 percent amounts to only 141,000 tax returns but accounts for nearly 12 percent of the adjusted gross income earned and approximately 20 percent of the nation's federal individual income taxes. The average income for a tax return in this top 0.1 percent is $7.4 million, while the average amount of income tax paid is $1.6 million, indicating an average effective individual income tax rate of 21.5 percent. This very top income group actually has a lower average effective tax rate than the rest of the top 1 percent of returns because these extremely high-income returns are more likely to have income from capital gains and dividends, which are typically taxed at lower rates. (Note that in the case of capital gains and dividends, in most cases the income has already been taxed once by the corporate income tax, which is not included here.)