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Does the Federal Tax Code Pass the Tax Burden from Wealthy to Lower Income Taxpayers?

Fiction: No. 

The share of total federal income taxes paid by the Top 1 percent of tax filers was 38.1  percent in 2012, while the tax share of the Top 5 percent was 58.9 percent. The income tax share of the Top 50 percent was 97.2 percent, while the tax share of the Bottom 50 percent was 2.8 percent.  

The share of adjusted gross income generated by the Top 1 percent of tax filers was 21.9% in 2012, while the share of adjusted gross income generated by the Top 5 percent was 36.8 percent. The adjusted gross income share generated by the Top 50 percent was 88.9 percent, while the share of adjusted gross income generated by the Bottom 50 percent was 11.1 percent. 

Percentiles Ranked by AGI

Group's Share of Total Adjusted Gross Income

Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

Top 1%

21.9% 

38.1%

Top 5%

36.8%

58.9%

Top 10%

47.9%

70.2%

Top 25%

69.3%

86.4%

Top 50%

88.9%

97.2%

Bottom 50%

11.1%

2.8%

Source: IRS (Tax Year 2012)



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