In the midst of all the discussion of tax reform, an important part of the debate needs to be an examination of who pays federal income taxes. This post from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University sheds light on the facts.
Key findings include:
- In 2015 the top-earning 1 percent of Americans paid nearly two-fifths of federal personal income taxes. However, they earn just over one-fifth of all income.
- The top 5 percent of income earners paid 60 percent of all income taxes while earning 36 percent of all personal income.
- The share of federal income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of earners is far lower than their share of all income. The Americans in the lower half of the income spectrum earned 11 percent of all income but paid only 3 percent of the federal personal income tax revenue
This data shows that the federal income tax burden is concentrated even heavier on the top income earners than the NC state income tax burden, which I discussed last week here, in which just under the top ten percent paid a little more than half the state’s income taxes. (Note: this refers only to the income tax, and does not include payroll taxes like SS and Medicare.)
Such data lends important context to consider when we hear talk of what “share” of tax cut “benefits” goes to various income groups.