TaxProf Blog

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Historical Effective Tax Rates, 1979-2005

The Congressional Budget Office has released Historical Effective Tax Rates, 1979 to 2005:

High-income households have a disproportionate share of comprehensive income and pay a disproportionate share of federal taxes. The half-percent of the population with the highest income received 14.7% of total household income before taxes and paid 22.6% of total federal taxes in 2005 (see Tables 2 and 3). People at the top 0.01% of the income scale received 4.2% of total income and paid 6.5%of total federal taxes in 2005. The half-percent of the population with the highest income paid 31.5% of federal individual income taxes, while the top 0.01% paid 8.0% of individual income taxes in 2005.

Gov't Reports | Permalink

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These statistics are usually meaningless. What matters is total tax take, including highly regressive sales and other local taxes. For most of the population federal taxes are a lot less relevant than locale/state taxes. Viceversa for a small minority. Focusing only in federal taxes, or federal income taxes, has a disproportionate propaganda effect, especially when the percentage of income paid for those is not reported, but absolute numbers are. Shame.

Posted by: Blissex | Dec 26, 2008 12:15:16 PM