Taxpayers with Incomes Over $200,000 Claim a Large Percentage of Key Tax Breaks

November 8, 2013

Despite the fact that lawmakers have enacted various provisions over the years to limit the value of tax deductions for high-income taxpayers, taxpayers earning over $200,000 still manage to claim a disproportionately large share of some key tax breaks. While taxpayers earning over $200,000 comprise roughly 13 percent of all taxpayers who itemize, they claim about 28 percent of all itemized deductions. According to calculations by the Joint Committee on Taxation, in 2012, these high-income taxpayers claimed 35 percent of all mortgage interest deducted, 55 percent of state and local taxes deducted, and 57 percent of charitable contributions deducted.

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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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.

Itemized deductions allow individuals to subtract designated expenses from their taxable income and can be claimed in lieu of the standard deduction. Itemized deductions include those for state and local taxes, charitable contributions, and mortgage interest. An estimated 13.7 percent of filers itemized in 2019, most being high-income taxpayers.