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Americans Earning More Than $100,000 Pay 80% Of Federal Income Taxes

In this election year (as in most) there has been a lot of heated rhetoric about making the “rich” pay their “fair share” of taxes. Based on recent IRS data reported by Forbes, it seems the wealthy – very loosely defined – are already paying a significant share of the national tab.

In 2014, the 16% of Americans who filed returns showing adjusted gross income (AG) of $100,000 or more paid 79.6% of all income tax paid.  In raw numbers, that means 23.7 million taxpayers forked over a total of $1.079 trillion.

Of course, these folks paid the most tax because they made the most money.  That same 16% of taxpayers reported a total 2014 AGI of $5.574 trillion.  That’s about 58% of the total AGI for all taxpayers.

It’s interesting to me that Forbes chose to make $100,000 the bottom of the “top end” for taxpayers.  That figure’s status as a benchmark for “makes a lot of money” is outdated.  While it’s nothing to sneeze at, $100,000 pre-tax doesn’t land you on Easy Street, especially if you are a parent living in an urban area.  Inflation and the cost of housing have gutted the buying power of a low-six-figures income over the past 40 years.

I hope our well-paid members of Congress remember that as they look at tax reform in the coming years.


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