New York City Has Nation’s Highest and Lowest Income Tax Burdens: Report

Published May 1, 2007

The Tax Foundation has released three new datasets that show how much in federal income taxes individuals in the nation’s congressional districts, counties, and major city areas (metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs) paid in tax year 2004.

The nation’s tax burden is the highest in the region surrounding New York City, the data show.


Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-NY) congressional district tops the list in terms of income taxes paid as a percentage of adjusted gross income (AGI). The area she represents includes part of Manhattan (New York County), which was the top county in the country by that measure.

Taxpayers in Stamford-Norwalk, just east of New York City, paid more income tax than taxpayers in any other MSA.

Bronx District Gets Refunds

Near Maloney’s district is also the only Congressional district in the nation that has a negative overall federal individual income tax liability. Rep. Jose Serrano’s (D-NY) 16th district, which includes parts of the Bronx, receives more in refundable credits (such as the earned income tax credit) than it pays in income taxes.

Poor, Wealthy Go Democratic

Overall, both Republican and Democratic districts have an average effective income tax rate of 11.1 percent.


Democrats, however, tend to represent disproportionately very low-taxpaying districts and very high-taxpaying ones. Democrats represent 29 of the top 50 taxpaying districts, while also representing 43 of the bottom 50 taxpaying districts.

The data were released as a preview of a Tax Foundation Special Report forthcoming this spring that will present the total federal tax burden by these three geographic units.

The Special Report will include estimates of payroll taxes, excise taxes, and corporate income taxes, in addition to individual income taxes, paid at the federal level.


The project is intended to give citizens, researchers, media, and federal lawmakers a detailed illustration of the geographic distribution of the federal tax burden.

Gerald Prante ([email protected]) is a staff economist at the Tax Foundation in Washington, DC. An earlier version of this article appeared in the Tax Foundation’s Fiscal Fact No. 73, published January 17. Used by permission.

For more information …

“IRS Data Reveal Which Congressional Districts Pay the Highest Federal Income Taxes,” by Gerald Prante,