October 20, 2004 - admin

New IRS data: who pays income tax?

Who pays to keep the Federal government awash in mone?

The IRS last week issued statistics from 2002. Pretty sobering. See the Joint Economic Commission’s news release about this. If you can distill the obvious political bias, read this commentary. (Bias is not a bad thing, especially acknowledged bias. It’s the pious ones that mope around shamelessly pretending to be objective that scare me).

The top 1% of income earners paid 33.71% of all Federal personal income tax. If you made more than $284,424, you’re in that group.

The top 50% of all income earners paid 96.5% of all personal income tax. That includes people with incomes above $28,654.

In an entirely self-interested manner, this is great for me as a tax lawyer! 🙂 I’m not entirely sure how this plays out in the political arena. But it certainly puts a spike in the people who complain about the lack of progressivity in the income tax system. Yes, Virginia, the rich do pay more. Much, much more.

But there’s more. It’s not too hard for a 2-income household to break the $284,424 threshhold and be in the top 1% of the country for income.

It’s even easier to get in the top 5% of the country for income: all you need is income above $126,525. I invite you to ask a question to the typical person earning $130,000: do you feel rich? I’ll bet you the answer is no. They have high bills. They’re staring at kids going to college.

My sense of all of this? (1) People will continue to need me. People who make money get hammered by the IRS. Congress continues to pass boondoggle tax laws. My clients need help and relief. (2) Making $150,000 or $200,000 doesn’t put you in fat city. (3) The political blowhards currently burning up the ozone layer with vapid rhetoric lack a clue or choose to ignore real world numbers like these.

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