TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

NY Times: 2004 Income Below 2000 Level

Interesting article in today's New York Times: ’04 Income in U.S. Was Below 2000 Level, by David Cay Johnston:

Ny_times_page_1Despite significant gains in 2004, the total income Americans reported to the tax collector that year, adjusted for inflation, was still below its peak in 2000, new government data shows....

The tax cuts contributed to a big decline in individual income tax receipts, which fell at a rate 14 times that of the drop in incomes. In 2004 individual income tax receipts were 21.6 percent smaller than in 2000 — and indeed smaller than they were in 1997, the new I.R.S. report shows. The government collected $831.8 billion in individual income taxes in 2004, down from $980.4 billion in 2000 and $848.6 billion in 1997....

Analysis of the I.R.S. data by The New York Times found that average reported incomes fell or were virtually flat at the end of the period at every level of income except for the poorest 26 million taxpayers, the bottom fifth. Those impoverished taxpayers made less than $11,166 each in 2004 and had an average income of $5,743, up $135 or 2.4 percent, from the year 2000....

The top one-tenth of 1 percent, about 130,500 taxpayers, reported their average income fell almost 17 percent, to just under $4.9 million each in 2004. Because of the tax cuts after-tax incomes fell by a significantly smaller amount, 12.1 percent. Still, those very top households, which include about 300,000 Americans, reported significantly more pretax income combined than the poorest 120 million Americans earned in 2004, the data show. This was a sharp change from 1979, the oldest year examined by the I.R.S., when the thin slice at the top received about one-third of the total income of the big group at the bottom.

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Well, duh!

We're still trying to recover from 2000 and 9/11.

--In 2004 individual income tax receipts were 21.6 percent smaller than in 2000--

because more people were taken off the fed tax rolls at the bottom????

Posted by: Sandy P | Nov 28, 2006 8:51:46 PM