Who Pays Federal Income Taxes?

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an estimate of who paid 2014 federal income taxes. The estimate is from the Tax Policy Center, as official IRS data won’t be available for a couple of years. The Journal headlines, “Top 20% of Earners Pay 84% of Income Tax,” but that actually understates how skewed the tax burden is.

This chart shows shares of income and income taxes by quintile. Note that the bottom 40% is actually getting money. Click to enlarge:

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This chart is more interesting. It breaks down the top 20% of income earners. Note that you have to be in the $261,500+ income group to pay more than your fair share in taxes. And it is only the hated 1%, those earning over $615,000, who pay significantly more than their fair share:

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The federal tax system has gotten steadily more progressive over the years, and is now the most progressive personal tax system (including payroll taxes in addition to income taxes) of any developed country.

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