Summary of Latest Federal Income Tax Data

November 29, 2012

2013's report on data from calender year 2011 is available here.

Jump to a table:
Summary of Federal Income Tax Data, 2010
Number of Federal Individual Income Tax Returns Filed 1980-2010 (In thousands)
Adjusted Gross Income of Taxpayers in Various Income Brackets, 1980-2010 ($Billions)
Total Income Tax after Credits, 1980-2010 ($ Billions)
Adjusted Gross Income Shares, 1980-2010 (Percent of total AGI earned by each group)
Total Income Tax Shares, 1980-2010 (Percent of federal income tax paid by each group)
Dollar Cut-Off, 1980-2010 (Minimum AGI for tax return to fall into various percentiles; thresholds not adjusted for inflation)
Average Tax Rate, 1980-2010 (Percent of AGI paid in income taxes)

The Internal Revenue Service has released new data on individual income taxes, reporting on calendar year 2010.[1] As we do every year, we present a summary of that data along with the historical data back to 1980. This year the IRS changed its methodology to exclude dependent filers and include returns with negative AGI. For comparison’s sake, we present this new data as far back as the IRS provides, to 2001, along with the previously reported data for prior years. Here follows the IRS statement regarding this year’s change:

This release including the Tax Year 2010 percentile data were [sic] produced using an improved methodology to that of previous SOI releases of percentile data in order to refine the accuracy of the percentile estimates. The data in these tables are based on a modified universe of tax returns. In particular, all individual income tax returns except returns of dependents are now used in the computation whereas previous releases were based on only returns with positive AGI. This change was the result of feedback and recommendations made by users of these statistics who encouraged SOI to assess the utility of the information. The data in the improved tables shown here, while more accurate for the dollar amounts shown are still very similar in terms of percentages when compared to the data produced under the previous methodology.[2]

The new methodology results in about 7 to 9 million fewer tax returns in most years but about 5 million fewer returns in 2009 due to the high number of negative AGI returns that year. It also results in a slight overstatement of both the income shares and the average tax rates of the top 1 percent and a slight understatement of the tax shares of the top 1 percent, as compared with the previous methodology.[3]

With that in mind, a few points about the data can be made. First, as a result of the tepid economic recovery, incomes and taxes paid for all income groups increased in 2010 but not to the levels achieved during the boom years of 2006 and 2007.

Second, average tax rates increased in 2010 for all except the top 1 percent, who saw a slight decrease in their average tax rate from 24.05 percent of income in 2009 to 23.39 percent in 2010. This is still about 10 times the tax rate of the bottom 50 percent of filers, who paid 2.37 percent of their income in 2010. Tax rates have dropped for all filers since 2001 but have done so most precipitously for low-income filers. The bottom 50 percent of filers paid 4.92 percent of their income in 2001, more than twice the rate they paid in 2010. In contrast, the top 1 percent of filers paid 27.6 percent of their income in 2001, which is about 4 points higher than their 2010 rate.

Finally, as many have noted, incomes have stagnated for low-income households in recent years, but this is true for high-income households as well.[4] In real inflation-adjusted terms, the income thresholds for all percentiles, including the top 50 percent, the top 1 percent, and the top 0.1 percent are lower than they were in 2001 (not shown). That means the nominal income increases since 2001, shown in Table 7, are entirely due to inflation. In terms of income shares, there has been more growth of income at the top, at least since 2001. The income share of the top 1 percent rebounded slightly to 18.87 percent of income in 2010 after bottoming out in 2009. However, the top share remains lower than it was at any time during the economic expansion of 2004 to 2008.

Table 1. Summary of Federal Income Tax Data, 2010

 

Number of Returns*

AGI ($ millions)

Income Taxes Paid ($ millions)

Group's Share of Total AGI

Group's Share of Income Taxes

Income Split Point

Average Tax Rate

All Taxpayers

135,033,492

$8,039,779

$949,144

100.0%

100.0%

-

11.81%

Top 1%

1,350,335

$1,517,146

$354,810

18.9%

37.4%

$369,691

23.39%

1-5%

5,401,340

$1,199,053

$205,839

14.9%

21.7%

 

17.17%

Top 5%

6,751,675

$2,716,199

$560,649

33.8%

59.1%

$161,579

20.64%

5-10%

6,751,674

$915,165

$109,670

11.4%

11.6%

 

11.98%

Top 10%

13,503,349

$3,631,364

$670,319

45.2%

70.6%

$116,623

18.46%

10-25%

20,255,024

$1,799,588

$156,477

22.4%

16.5%

 

8.70%

Top 25%

33,758,373

$5,430,952

$826,796

67.6%

87.1%

$69,126

15.22%

25-50%

33,758,373

$1,664,728

$99,986

20.7%

10.5%

 

6.01%

Top 50%

67,516,746

$7,095,680

$926,782

88.3%

97.6%

$34,338

13.06%

Bottom 50%

67,516,746

$944,099

$22,363

11.7%

2.4%

<$34,338

2.37%

Source: Internal Revenue Service

*Does not include dependent filers.

 

Table 2. Number of Federal Individual Income Tax Returns Filed 1980-2010 (In thousands)

Year

Total

Top 0.1%

Top 1%

Top 5%

Between 5% & 10%

Top 10%

Between 10% & 25%

Top 25%

Between 25% & 50%

Top 50%

Bottom 50%

1980

93,239

 

932

4,662

4,662

9,324

13,986

23,310

23,310

46,619

46,619

1981

94,587

 

946

4,729

4,729

9,459

14,188

23,647

23,647

47,293

47,293

1982

94,426

 

944

4,721

4,721

9,443

14,164

23,607

23,607

47,213

47,213

1983

95,331

 

953

4,767

4,767

9,533

14,300

23,833

23,833

47,665

47,665

1984

98,436

 

984

4,922

4,922

9,844

14,765

24,609

24,609

49,218

49,219

1985

100,625

 

1,006

5,031

5,031

10,063

15,094

25,156

25,156

50,313

50,313

1986

102,088

 

1,021

5,104

5,104

10,209

15,313

25,522

25,522

51,044

51,044

Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

1987

106,155

 

1,062

5,308

5,308

10,615

15,923

26,539

26,539

53,077

53,077

1988

108,873

 

1,089

5,444

5,444

10,887

16,331

27,218

27,218

54,436

54,436

1989

111,313

 

1,113

5,566

5,566

11,131

16,697

27,828

27,828

55,656

55,656

1990

112,812

 

1,128

5,641

5,641

11,281

16,922

28,203

28,203

56,406

56,406

1991

113,804

 

1,138

5,690

5,690

11,380

17,071

28,451

28,451

56,902

56,902

1992

112,653

 

1,127

5,633

5,633

11,265

16,898

28,163

28,163

56,326

56,326

1993

113,681

 

1,137

5,684

5,684

11,368

17,052

28,420

28,420

56,841

56,841

1994

114,990

 

1,150

5,749

5,749

11,499

17,248

28,747

28,747

57,495

57,495

1995

117,274

 

1,173

5,864

5,864

11,727

17,591

29,319

29,319

58,637

58,637

1996

119,442

 

1,194

5,972

5,972

11,944

17,916

29,860

29,860

59,721

59,721

1997

121,503

 

1,215

6,075

6,075

12,150

18,225

30,376

30,376

60,752

60,752

1998

123,776

 

1,238

6,189

6,189

12,378

18,566

30,944

30,944

61,888

61,888

1999

126,009

 

1,260

6,300

6,300

12,601

18,901

31,502

31,502

63,004

63,004

2000

128,227

 

1,282

6,411

6,411

12,823

19,234

32,057

32,057

64,114

64,114

IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

2001

119,371

119

1,194

5,969

5,969

11,937

17,906

29,843

29,843

59,685

59,685

2002

119,851

120

1,199

5,993

5,993

11,985

17,978

29,963

29,963

59,925

59,925

2003

120,759

121

1,208

6,038

6,038

12,076

18,114

30,190

30,190

60,379

60,379

2004

122,510

123

1,225

6,125

6,125

12,251

18,376

30,627

30,627

61,255

61,255

2005

124,673

125

1,247

6,234

6,234

12,467

18,701

31,168

31,168

62,337

62,337

2006

128,441

128

1,284

6,422

6,422

12,844

19,266

32,110

32,110

64,221

64,221

2007

132,655

133

1,327

6,633

6,633

13,265

19,898

33,164

33,164

66,327

66,327

2008

132,892

133

1,329

6,645

6,645

13,289

19,934

33,223

33,223

66,446

66,446

2009

132,620

133

1,326

6,631

6,631

13,262

19,893

33,155

33,155

66,310

66,310

2010

135,033

135

1,350

6,752

6,752

13,503

20,255

33,758

33,758

67,517

67,517

Source: Internal Revenue Service

 

Table 3. Adjusted Gross Income of Taxpayers in Various Income Brackets, 1980-2010 ($Billions)

Year

Total

Top 0.1%

Top 1%

Top 5%

Between 5% & 10%

Top 10%

Between 10% & 25%

Top 25%

Between 25% & 50%

Top 50%

Bottom 50%

1980

$1,627

 

$138

$342

$181

$523

$400

$922

$417

$1,339

$288

1981

$1,791

 

$149

$372

$201

$573

$442

$1,015

$458

$1,473

$318

1982

$1,876

 

$167

$398

$207

$605

$460

$1,065

$478

$1,544

$332

1983

$1,970

 

$183

$428

$217

$646

$481

$1,127

$498

$1,625

$344

1984

$2,173

 

$210

$482

$240

$723

$528

$1,251

$543

$1,794

$379

1985

$2,344

 

$235

$531

$260

$791

$567

$1,359

$580

$1,939

$405

1986

$2,524

 

$285

$608

$278

$887

$604

$1,490

$613

$2,104

$421

Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

1987

$2,814

 

$347

$722

$316

$1,038

$671

$1,709

$664

$2,374

$440

1988

$3,124

 

$474

$891

$342

$1,233

$718

$1,951

$707

$2,658

$466

1989

$3,299

 

$468

$918

$368

$1,287

$768

$2,054

$751

$2,805

$494

1990

$3,451

 

$483

$953

$385

$1,338

$806

$2,144

$788

$2,933

$519

1991

$3,516

 

$457

$943

$400

$1,343

$832

$2,175

$809

$2,984

$532

1992

$3,681

 

$524

$1,031

$413

$1,444

$856

$2,299

$832

$3,131

$549

1993

$3,776

 

$521

$1,048

$426

$1,474

$883

$2,358

$854

$3,212

$563

1994

$3,961

 

$547

$1,103

$449

$1,552

$929

$2,481

$890

$3,371

$590

1995

$4,245

 

$620

$1,223

$482

$1,705

$985

$2,690

$938

$3,628

$617

1996

$4,591

 

$737

$1,394

$515

$1,909

$1,043

$2,953

$992

$3,944

$646

1997

$5,023

 

$873

$1,597

$554

$2,151

$1,116

$3,268

$1,060

$4,328

$695

1998

$5,469

 

$1,010

$1,797

$597

$2,394

$1,196

$3,590

$1,132

$4,721

$748

1999

$5,909

 

$1,153

$2,012

$641

$2,653

$1,274

$3,927

$1,199

$5,126

$783

2000

$6,424

 

$1,337

$2,267

$688

$2,955

$1,358

$4,314

$1,276

$5,590

$834

IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

2001

$6,116

$492

$1,065

$1,934

$666

$2,600

$1,334

$3,933

$1,302

$5,235

$881

2002

$5,982

$421

$960

$1,812

$660

$2,472

$1,339

$3,812

$1,303

$5,115

$867

2003

$6,157

$466

$1,030

$1,908

$679

$2,587

$1,375

$3,962

$1,325

$5,287

$870

2004

$6,735

$615

$1,279

$2,243

$725

$2,968

$1,455

$4,423

$1,403

$5,826

$908

2005

$7,366

$784

$1,561

$2,623

$778

$3,401

$1,540

$4,940

$1,473

$6,413

$953

2006

$7,970

$895

$1,761

$2,918

$841

$3,760

$1,652

$5,412

$1,568

$6,980

$990

2007

$8,622

$1,030

$1,971

$3,223

$905

$4,128

$1,770

$5,898

$1,673

$7,571

$1,051

2008

$8,206

$826

$1,657

$2,868

$905

$3,773

$1,782

$5,555

$1,673

$7,228

$978

2009

$7,579

$602

$1,305

$2,439

$878

$3,317

$1,740

$5,058

$1,620

$6,678

$900

2010

$8,040

$743

$1,517

$2,716

$915

$3,631

$1,800

$5,431

$1,665

$7,096

$944

Source: IRS

 

Table 4. Total Income Tax after Credits, 1980-2010 ($ Billions)

Year

Total

Top 0.1%

Top 1%

Top 5%

Between 5% & 10%

Top 10%

Between 10% & 25%

Top 25%

Between 25% & 50%

Top 50%

Bottom 50%

1980

$249

 

$47

$92

$31

$123

$59

$182

$50

$232

$18

1981

$282

 

$50

$99

$36

$135

$69

$204

$57

$261

$21

1982

$276

 

$53

$100

$34

$134

$66

$200

$56

$256

$20

1983

$272

 

$55

$101

$34

$135

$64

$199

$54

$252

$19

1984

$297

 

$63

$113

$37

$150

$68

$219

$57

$276

$22

1985

$322

 

$70

$125

$41

$166

$73

$238

$60

$299

$23

1986

$367

 

$94

$156

$44

$201

$78

$279

$64

$343

$24

Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

1987

$369

 

$92

$160

$46

$205

$79

$284

$63

$347

$22

1988

$413

 

$114

$188

$48

$236

$85

$321

$68

$389

$24

1989

$433

 

$109

$190

$51

$241

$93

$334

$73

$408

$25

1990

$447

 

$112

$195

$52

$248

$97

$344

$77

$421

$26

1991

$448

 

$111

$194

$56

$250

$96

$347

$77

$424

$25

1992

$476

 

$131

$218

$58

$276

$97

$374

$78

$452

$24

1993

$503

 

$146

$238

$60

$298

$101

$399

$80

$479

$24

1994

$535

 

$154

$254

$64

$318

$108

$425

$84

$509

$25

1995

$588

 

$178

$288

$70

$357

$115

$473

$88

$561

$27

1996

$658

 

$213

$335

$76

$411

$124

$535

$95

$630

$28

1997

$727

 

$241

$377

$82

$460

$134

$594

$102

$696

$31

1998

$788

 

$274

$425

$88

$513

$139

$652

$103

$755

$33

1999

$877

 

$317

$486

$97

$583

$150

$733

$109

$842

$35

2000

$981

 

$367

$554

$106

$660

$164

$824

$118

$942

$38

IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

2001

$885

$139

$294

$462

$101

$564

$158

$722

$120

$842

$43

2002

$794

$120

$263

$420

$93

$513

$143

$657

$104

$761

$33

2003

$746

$115

$251

$399

$85

$484

$133

$617

$98

$715

$30

2004

$829

$142

$301

$467

$91

$558

$137

$695

$102

$797

$32

2005

$932

$176

$361

$549

$98

$647

$145

$793

$106

$898

$33

2006

$1,020

$196

$402

$607

$108

$715

$157

$872

$113

$986

$35

2007

$1,112

$221

$443

$666

$117

$783

$170

$953

$122

$1,075

$37

2008

$1,029

$187

$386

$597

$115

$712

$168

$880

$117

$997

$32

2009

$863

$146

$314

$502

$101

$604

$146

$749

$93

$842

$21

2010

$949

$170

$355

$561

$110

$670

$156

$827

$100

$927

$22

Source: IRS

 

Table 5. Adjusted Gross Income Shares, 1980-2010 (Percent of total AGI earned by each group)

Year

Total

Top 0.1%

Top 1%

Top 5%

Between 5% & 10%

Top 10%

Between 10% & 25%

Top 25%

Between 25% & 50%

Top 50%

Bottom 50%

1980

100%

 

8.46%

21.01%

11.12%

32.13%

24.57%

56.70%

25.62%

82.32%

17.68%

1981

100%

 

8.30%

20.78%

11.20%

31.98%

24.69%

56.67%

25.59%

82.25%

17.75%

1982

100%

 

8.91%

21.23%

11.03%

32.26%

24.53%

56.79%

25.50%

82.29%

17.71%

1983

100%

 

9.29%

21.74%

11.04%

32.78%

24.44%

57.22%

25.30%

82.52%

17.48%

1984

100%

 

9.66%

22.19%

11.06%

33.25%

24.31%

57.56%

25.00%

82.56%

17.44%

1985

100%

 

10.03%

22.67%

11.10%

33.77%

24.21%

57.97%

24.77%

82.74%

17.26%

1986

100%

 

11.30%

24.11%

11.02%

35.12%

23.92%

59.04%

24.30%

83.34%

16.66%

Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

1987

100%

 

12.32%

25.67%

11.23%

36.90%

23.85%

60.75%

23.62%

84.37%

15.63%

1988

100%

 

15.16%

28.51%

10.94%

39.45%

22.99%

62.44%

22.63%

85.07%

14.93%

1989

100%

 

14.19%

27.84%

11.16%

39.00%

23.28%

62.28%

22.76%

85.04%

14.96%

1990

100%

 

14.00%

27.62%

11.15%

38.77%

23.36%

62.13%

22.84%

84.97%

15.03%

1991

100%

 

12.99%

26.83%

11.37%

38.20%

23.65%

61.85%

23.01%

84.87%

15.13%

1992

100%

 

14.23%

28.01%

11.21%

39.23%

23.25%

62.47%

22.61%

85.08%

14.92%

1993

100%

 

13.79%

27.76%

11.29%

39.05%

23.40%

62.45%

22.63%

85.08%

14.92%

1994

100%

 

13.80%

27.85%

11.34%

39.19%

23.45%

62.64%

22.48%

85.11%

14.89%

1995

100%

 

14.60%

28.81%

11.35%

40.16%

23.21%

63.37%

22.09%

85.46%

14.54%

1996

100%

 

16.04%

30.36%

11.23%

41.59%

22.73%

64.32%

21.60%

85.92%

14.08%

1997

100%

 

17.38%

31.79%

11.03%

42.83%

22.22%

65.05%

21.11%

86.16%

13.84%

1998

100%

 

18.47%

32.85%

10.92%

43.77%

21.87%

65.63%

20.69%

86.33%

13.67%

1999

100%

 

19.51%

34.04%

10.85%

44.89%

21.57%

66.46%

20.29%

86.75%

13.25%

2000

100%

 

20.81%

35.30%

10.71%

46.01%

21.15%

67.15%

19.86%

87.01%

12.99%

IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

2001

100%

8.05%

17.41%

31.61%

10.89%

42.50%

21.80%

64.31%

21.29%

85.60%

14.40%

2002

100%

7.04%

16.05%

30.29%

11.04%

41.33%

22.39%

63.71%

21.79%

85.50%

14.50%

2003

100%

7.56%

16.73%

30.99%

11.03%

42.01%

22.33%

64.34%

21.52%

85.87%

14.13%

2004

100%

9.14%

18.99%

33.31%

10.77%

44.07%

21.60%

65.68%

20.83%

86.51%

13.49%

2005

100%

10.64%

21.19%

35.61%

10.56%

46.17%

20.90%

67.07%

19.99%

87.06%

12.94%

2006

100%

11.23%

22.10%

36.62%

10.56%

47.17%

20.73%

67.91%

19.68%

87.58%

12.42%

2007

100%

11.95%

22.86%

37.39%

10.49%

47.88%

20.53%

68.41%

19.40%

87.81%

12.19%

2008

100%

10.06%

20.19%

34.95%

11.03%

45.98%

21.71%

67.69%

20.39%

88.08%

11.92%

2009

100%

7.94%

17.21%

32.18%

11.59%

43.77%

22.96%

66.74%

21.38%

88.12%

11.88%

2010

100%

9.24%

18.87%

33.78%

11.38%

45.17%

22.38%

67.55%

20.71%

88.26%

11.74%

Source: IRS

 

Table 6. Total Income Tax Shares, 1980-2010 (Percent of federal income tax paid by each group)

Year

Total

Top 0.1%

Top 1%

Top 5%

Between 5% & 10%

Top 10%

Between 10% & 25%

Top 25%

Between 25% & 50%

Top 50%

Bottom 50%

1980

100%

 

19.05%

36.84%

12.44%

49.28%

23.74%

73.02%

19.93%

92.95%

7.05%

1981

100%

 

17.58%

35.06%

12.90%

47.96%

24.33%

72.29%

20.26%

92.55%

7.45%

1982

100%

 

19.03%

36.13%

12.45%

48.59%

23.91%

72.50%

20.15%

92.65%

7.35%

1983

100%

 

20.32%

37.26%

12.44%

49.71%

23.39%

73.10%

19.73%

92.83%

7.17%

1984

100%

 

21.12%

37.98%

12.58%

50.56%

22.92%

73.49%

19.16%

92.65%

7.35%

1985

100%

 

21.81%

38.78%

12.67%

51.46%

22.60%

74.06%

18.77%

92.83%

7.17%

1986

100%

 

25.75%

42.57%

12.12%

54.69%

21.33%

76.02%

17.52%

93.54%

6.46%

Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

1987

100%

 

24.81%

43.26%

12.35%

55.61%

21.31%

76.92%

17.02%

93.93%

6.07%

1988

100%

 

27.58%

45.62%

11.66%

57.28%

20.57%

77.84%

16.44%

94.28%

5.72%

1989

100%

 

25.24%

43.94%

11.85%

55.78%

21.44%

77.22%

16.94%

94.17%

5.83%

1990

100%

 

25.13%

43.64%

11.73%

55.36%

21.66%

77.02%

17.16%

94.19%

5.81%

1991

100%

 

24.82%

43.38%

12.45%

55.82%

21.46%

77.29%

17.23%

94.52%

5.48%

1992

100%

 

27.54%

45.88%

12.12%

58.01%

20.47%

78.48%

16.46%

94.94%

5.06%

1993

100%

 

29.01%

47.36%

11.88%

59.24%

20.03%

79.27%

15.92%

95.19%

4.81%

1994

100%

 

28.86%

47.52%

11.93%

59.45%

20.10%

79.55%

15.68%

95.23%

4.77%

1995

100%

 

30.26%

48.91%

11.84%

60.75%

19.62%

80.36%

15.03%

95.39%

4.61%

1996

100%

 

32.31%

50.97%

11.54%

62.51%

18.80%

81.32%

14.36%

95.68%

4.32%

1997

100%

 

33.17%

51.87%

11.33%

63.20%

18.47%

81.67%

14.05%

95.72%

4.28%

1998

100%

 

34.75%

53.84%

11.20%

65.04%

17.65%

82.69%

13.10%

95.79%

4.21%

1999

100%

 

36.18%

55.45%

11.00%

66.45%

17.09%

83.54%

12.46%

96.00%

4.00%

2000

100%

 

37.42%

56.47%

10.86%

67.33%

16.68%

84.01%

12.08%

96.09%

3.91%

IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

2001

100%

15.68%

33.22%

52.24%

11.44%

63.68%

17.88%

81.56%

13.54%

95.10%

4.90%

2002

100%

15.09%

33.09%

52.86%

11.77%

64.63%

18.04%

82.67%

13.12%

95.79%

4.21%

2003

100%

15.37%

33.69%

53.54%

11.35%

64.89%

17.87%

82.76%

13.17%

95.93%

4.07%

2004

100%

17.12%

36.28%

56.35%

10.96%

67.30%

16.52%

83.82%

12.31%

96.13%

3.87%

2005

100%

18.91%

38.78%

58.93%

10.52%

69.46%

15.61%

85.07%

11.35%

96.41%

3.59%

2006

100%

19.24%

39.36%

59.49%

10.59%

70.08%

15.41%

85.49%

11.10%

96.59%

3.41%

2007

100%

19.84%

39.81%

59.90%

10.51%

70.41%

15.30%

85.71%

10.93%

96.64%

3.36%

2008

100%

18.20%

37.51%

58.06%

11.14%

69.20%

16.37%

85.57%

11.33%

96.90%

3.10%

2009

100%

16.91%

36.34%

58.17%

11.72%

69.89%

16.85%

86.74%

10.80%

97.54%

2.46%

2010

100%

17.88%

37.38%

59.07%

11.55%

70.62%

16.49%

87.11%

10.53%

97.64%

2.36%

Source: IRS

 

Table 7. Dollar Cut-Off, 1980-2010

(Minimum AGI for tax return to fall into various percentiles; thresholds not adjusted for inflation)

Year

Top 0.1%

Top 1%

Top 5%

Top 10%

Top 25%

Top 50%

1980

 

$80,580

$43,792

$35,070

$23,606

$12,936

1981

 

$85,428

$47,845

$38,283

$25,655

$14,000

1982

 

$89,388

$49,284

$39,676

$27,027

$14,539

1983

 

$93,512

$51,553

$41,222

$27,827

$15,044

1984

 

$100,889

$55,423

$43,956

$29,360

$15,998

1985

 

$108,134

$58,883

$46,322

$30,928

$16,688

1986

 

$118,818

$62,377

$48,656

$32,242

$17,302

Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

1987

 

$139,289

$68,414

$52,921

$33,983

$17,768

1988

 

$157,136

$72,735

$55,437

$35,398

$18,367

1989

 

$163,869

$76,933

$58,263

$36,839

$18,993

1990

 

$167,421

$79,064

$60,287

$38,080

$19,767

1991

 

$170,139

$81,720

$61,944

$38,929

$20,097

1992

 

$181,904

$85,103

$64,457

$40,378

$20,803

1993

 

$185,715

$87,386

$66,077

$41,210

$21,179

1994

 

$195,726

$91,226

$68,753

$42,742

$21,802

1995

 

$209,406

$96,221

$72,094

$44,207

$22,344

1996

 

$227,546

$101,141

$74,986

$45,757

$23,174

1997

 

$250,736

$108,048

$79,212

$48,173

$24,393

1998

 

$269,496

$114,729

$83,220

$50,607

$25,491

1999

 

$293,415

$120,846

$87,682

$52,965

$26,415

2000

 

$313,469

$128,336

$92,144

$55,225

$27,682

IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

2001

$1,393,718

$306,635

$132,082

$96,151

$59,026

$31,418

2002

$1,245,352

$296,194

$130,750

$95,699

$59,066

$31,299

2003

$1,317,088

$305,939

$133,741

$97,470

$59,896

$31,447

2004

$1,617,918

$339,993

$140,758

$101,838

$62,794

$32,622

2005

$1,938,175

$379,261

$149,216

$106,864

$64,821

$33,484

2006

$2,124,625

$402,603

$157,390

$112,016

$67,291

$34,417

2007

$2,251,017

$426,439

$164,883

$116,396

$69,559

$35,541

2008

$1,867,652

$392,513

$163,512

$116,813

$69,813

$35,340

2009

$1,469,393

$351,968

$157,342

$114,181

$68,216

$34,156

2010

$1,634,386

$369,691

$161,579

$116,623

$69,126

$34,338

Source: IRS

 

Table 8. Average Tax Rate, 1980-2010 (Percent of AGI paid in income taxes)

Year

Total

Top 0.1%

Top 1%

Top 5%

Between 5% & 10%

Top 10%

Between 10% & 25%

Top 25%

Between 25% & 50%

Top 50%

Bottom 50%

1980

15.31%

 

34.47%

26.85%

17.13%

23.49%

14.80%

19.72%

11.91%

17.29%

6.10%

1981

15.76%

 

33.37%

26.59%

18.16%

23.64%

15.53%

20.11%

12.48%

17.73%

6.62%

1982

14.72%

 

31.43%

25.05%

16.61%

22.17%

14.35%

18.79%

11.63%

16.57%

6.10%

1983

13.79%

 

30.18%

23.64%

15.54%

20.91%

13.20%

17.62%

10.76%

15.52%

5.66%

1984

13.68%

 

29.92%

23.42%

15.57%

20.81%

12.90%

17.47%

10.48%

15.35%

5.77%

1985

13.73%

 

29.86%

23.50%

15.69%

20.93%

12.83%

17.55%

10.41%

15.41%

5.70%

1986

14.54%

 

33.13%

25.68%

15.99%

22.64%

12.97%

18.72%

10.48%

16.32%

5.63%

Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

1987

13.12%

 

26.41%

22.10%

14.43%

19.77%

11.71%

16.61%

9.45%

14.60%

5.09%

1988

13.21%

 

24.04%

21.14%

14.07%

19.18%

11.82%

16.47%

9.60%

14.64%

5.06%

1989

13.12%

 

23.34%

20.71%

13.93%

18.77%

12.08%

16.27%

9.77%

14.53%

5.11%

1990

12.95%

 

23.25%

20.46%

13.63%

18.50%

12.01%

16.06%

9.73%

14.36%

5.01%

1991

12.75%

 

24.37%

20.62%

13.96%

18.63%

11.57%

15.93%

9.55%

14.20%

4.62%

1992

12.94%

 

25.05%

21.19%

13.99%

19.13%

11.39%

16.25%

9.42%

14.44%

4.39%

1993

13.32%

 

28.01%

22.71%

14.01%

20.20%

11.40%

16.90%

9.37%

14.90%

4.29%

1994

13.50%

 

28.23%

23.04%

14.20%

20.48%

11.57%

17.15%

9.42%

15.11%

4.32%

1995

13.86%

 

28.73%

23.53%

14.46%

20.97%

11.71%

17.58%

9.43%

15.47%

4.39%

1996

14.34%

 

28.87%

24.07%

14.74%

21.55%

11.86%

18.12%

9.53%

15.96%

4.40%

1997

14.48%

 

27.64%

23.62%

14.87%

21.36%

12.04%

18.18%

9.63%

16.09%

4.48%

1998

14.42%

 

27.12%

23.63%

14.79%

21.42%

11.63%

18.16%

9.12%

16.00%

4.44%

1999

14.85%

 

27.53%

24.18%

15.06%

21.98%

11.76%

18.66%

9.12%

16.43%

4.48%

2000

15.26%

 

27.45%

24.42%

15.48%

22.34%

12.04%

19.09%

9.28%

16.86%

4.60%

IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

2001

14.47%

28.17%

27.60%

23.91%

15.20%

21.68%

11.87%

18.35%

9.20%

16.08%

4.92%

2002

13.28%

28.48%

27.37%

23.17%

14.15%

20.76%

10.70%

17.23%

8.00%

14.87%

3.86%

2003

12.11%

24.60%

24.38%

20.92%

12.46%

18.70%

9.69%

15.57%

7.41%

13.53%

3.49%

2004

12.31%

23.06%

23.52%

20.83%

12.53%

18.80%

9.41%

15.71%

7.27%

13.68%

3.53%

2005

12.65%

22.48%

23.15%

20.93%

12.61%

19.03%

9.45%

16.04%

7.18%

14.01%

3.51%

2006

12.80%

21.94%

22.80%

20.80%

12.84%

19.02%

9.52%

16.12%

7.22%

14.12%

3.51%

2007

12.90%

21.42%

22.46%

20.66%

12.92%

18.96%

9.61%

16.16%

7.27%

14.19%

3.56%

2008

12.54%

22.67%

23.29%

20.83%

12.66%

18.87%

9.45%

15.85%

6.97%

13.79%

3.26%

2009

11.39%

24.28%

24.05%

20.59%

11.53%

18.19%

8.36%

14.81%

5.76%

12.61%

2.35%

2010

11.81%

22.84%

23.39%

20.64%

11.98%

18.46%

8.70%

15.22%

6.01%

13.06%

2.37%

Source: IRS

Some important facts to keep in mind about the information provided here.

(1) For data prior to 2001, all tax returns that have a positive AGI are included, even those that do not have a positive income tax liability. For data from 2001 forward, returns with negative AGI are also included, but dependent returns are excluded.

(2) Income tax after credits (the tax measure above) does not account for the refundable portion of EITC. If it were included (as is often the case with other organizations), the tax share of the top income groups would be higher. The refundable portion is legally classified as a spending program by the Office of Management and Budget and therefore is not included by the IRS in these figures.

(3) The only tax analyzed here is the federal individual income tax, which is responsible for about 25 percent of the nation's taxes paid (at all levels of government). Federal income taxes are much more progressive than payroll taxes, which are responsible for about 20 percent of all taxes paid (at all levels of government), and are more progressive than most state and local taxes (depending upon the economic assumption made about property taxes and corporate income taxes).

(4) AGI is a fairly narrow income concept, and does not include income items like government transfers (except for the portion of Social Security benefits that is taxed), the value of employer-provided health insurance, underreported or unreported income (most notably that of sole proprietors), income derived from municipal bond interest, net imputed rental income, worker's compensation benefits and others.

(5) Tax return is the unit of analysis, which is broader than households, especially for those at the bottom end, many of which are dependent returns (prior to 2001). Some dependent returns are included in the figures here prior to 2001, and under other units of analysis (like the Treasury Department's Family Economic Unit) would likely be paired with their parents' returns.

(6) The data source is the IRS Statistics of Income Division, which uses a national sample of tax returns to provide the figures used here. The figures above for 2010 were taken from data that were labeled an "early release" by SOI in November 2012. The 2009 figures and those for previous years on this page were taken from the final percentile data released by the IRS. Figures for 2010 may be subsequently revised.

(7) These figures represent the legal incidence of the income tax, although most distributional tables (such as those from CBO, Tax Policy Center, Citizens for Tax Justice, Treasury, and JCT) assume that the entire economic incidence of personal income taxes falls on the income earner.


[1] Internal Revenue Service, SOI Stats – Individual Statistical Tables by Tax Rate and Income Percentile, http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats-Individual-Statistical-Tables-by-Tax-Rate-and-Income-Percentile.

[2] Id.

[3] David Logan, Summary of Latest Federal Income Tax Data, Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 285 (Oct. 24, 2011), http://taxfoundation.org/article/summary-latest-federal-individual-income-tax-data-0. For a more directly comparable time series of data across decades going back to 1979, see the CBO’s report, discussed in William McBride, CBO Report Shows Increasing Redistribution in the Tax Code Despite No Long-Term Trend in Income Inequality, Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 322 (July 24, 2012), http://taxfoundation.org/article/cbo-report-shows-increasing-redistribution-tax-code-despite-no-long-term-trend-income-inequality.

[4] Bruce Bartlett, Tax Cuts, Tax Rates  and Tax Shares, New York Times Economix Blog, Nov. 27, 2012, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/tax-cuts-tax-rates-and-tax-shares/.

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