A new paper on wealth inequality from economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman – who have written frequently on the subject – was released earlier this month. This paper is far better than previous attempts to measure...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Even After Deductions and Credits, the Income Tax System ...
Even After Deductions and Credits, the Income Tax System Is Progressive
People mistakenly believe that because the rich benefit from many popular tax deductions and credits, they pay a lower average (or “effective”) tax rate than other taxpayers. This is not the case. The average tax rate for all Americans is about 10.4 percent. However, taxpayers earning over $1 million pay a 23 percent effective rate and taxpayers earning over $250,000 pay a 21 percent effective rate— more than twice the national average.
Meanwhile, “middle class” taxpayers earning between $50,000 and $100,000 pay an effective rate below the national average—just 9 percent. The effective tax rate for Americans making less than $30,000—who owe no income taxes—is actually negative due to refundable credits that give them a check back from the IRS.
For more charts like the one below, see the second edition of our chart book, Putting a Face on America's Tax Returns.
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