Paul L. Caron

Thursday, August 4, 2011

U.S. Income Plummeted 15.2% in 2009

IRS Logo The IRS's Statistics of Income Division yesterday released Individual Income Tax Returns 2009 (Publication 1304):

[This] Publication contains complete individual income tax data. The statistics are based on a sample of individual income tax returns, selected before audit, which represents a population of Forms 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ, including electronic returns.

The report contains data on sources of income, adjusted gross income, exemptions, deductions, taxable income, income tax, modified taxable income, tax credits, self-employment tax, and tax payments.

Section 1 - Introduction and Changes in Law - In this section you will find information on filing requirements, changes in law, the 1979 income concept, and a comparison of adjusted gross income with the 1979 income concept

Section 2 - Description of the Sample - In this section you will find the following information concerning the sample: domain of study, sample design and selection, data capture and cleaning, method of estimation, sampling variability and confidence intervals, and table presentation. Section 3: Basic Tables - The statistical tables found in this section are broken into the following groupings:

Section 4 - Explanation of Terms - This section is designed to clarify the statistical content of this report. The definitions and explanation provide background or limitations to the titles used in the tables
Table A - Selected Income and Tax Items for Selected Years, in Current and Constant 1990 Dollars

Reuters, U.S. Incomes Fell Sharply in 2009, by David Cay Johnston:

U.S. incomes plummeted again in 2009, with total income down 15.2% in real terms since 2007, new tax data showed on Wednesday. The data showed an alarming drop in the number of taxpayers reporting any earnings from a job -- down by nearly 4.2 million from 2007 -- meaning every 33rd household that had work in 2007 had no work in 2009.

Average income in 2009 fell to $54,283, down $3,516, or 6.1% in real terms compared with 2008. ... Compared with 2007, average income was down $8,588 or 13.7%. Average income in 2009 was at its lowest level since 1997 when it was $54,265 in 2009 dollars, just $18 less than in 2009. The data come from annual Statistics of Income tables that were updated Wednesday.

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Other than Tiny Timmeh Geithner and Charlie Rangel, do we know who the other 1468 are?

Anybody done the sums of income tax as % of total income for 2009 v 2008?

I'd do it myself but I'm a lazy bastard.

Posted by: Bill Jones | Aug 6, 2011 4:13:52 PM

I've been reading in a couple of places where it was determined that 1,470 returns with AGIs over $1M paid no Federal Income Tax. I've looked through the report, downloaded the spreadsheets, and I can't seem to find where this number comes from. Anyone else see this?

Posted by: Chris | Aug 5, 2011 11:52:45 AM

Taxes are the price the rich pay to be able to walk down the street without being murdered by the poor for their wealth. It's time they realized that. You deprive the poor of a means to live, then you might as well get used to imprisoning yourselves with security cameras and barbed-wire gates and armed guards to protect you-- because that is all that will keep you alive. Simply read history.

Posted by: Greg | Aug 4, 2011 5:39:49 PM

It's all relative. Wall Street dished out 40 plus billion in bonuses this year. Not to bad for a down economy,eh? But then their profit was our loss. Can you say "wealth transfer" boys and girls? I knew you could

Posted by: robertsgt40 | Aug 4, 2011 2:42:17 PM

A note about your post title: that isn't what the publication said. It said that incomes fell 15.2% from 2007 to 2009, a somewhat different thing.

Posted by: Dave Schuler | Aug 4, 2011 2:07:16 PM

Thank you, American politicians, and American business leaders who moved jobs overseas.

Posted by: PacRim Jim | Aug 4, 2011 10:52:19 AM

Obama: “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money”

Posted by: bonzo | Aug 4, 2011 10:39:22 AM

I wonder whether the income inequality scolds will just skip 2009's inconvenient data.

Economists know that the fastest way to reduce inequality in reported taxable income is to put the economy in the toilet. Increasing the tax rate on capital gains runs a close second, and that's what's coming next. Inequality scolds will need to become much more creative in manipulating data from post-2008 to be able to claim that inequality is getting worse.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Aug 4, 2011 10:25:46 AM

The last time our Federal government targeted the 150 high-income households who didn't pay any income tax, we got the AMT, which now affects quite a few more than 150 households.

Posted by: Mike | Aug 4, 2011 9:08:52 AM