November 1, 1997

Tax Burden on American Families Rises Again

Download Special Report No. 74

Special Report No. 74

Executive Summary In 1997, the tax burden on America’s median income families increased again. This year federal, state and local taxes combined are projected to claim 38.2 percent of the income of a median income two-earner family, up from 37.3 percent in 1996. For a single-earner family, total taxes as a percentage of income are projected to increase to 35.6 percent, up from 35.5 percent last year.

For the dual-earner family, the tax burden is approaching its historic high. In 1981, before the federal income tax reduction and bracket indexation of the Economic Recovery Act of 1981 took effect, the dual-income family used 38.9 percent of its income to pay for its taxes.

A tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities.