Taxes, Government Finances and Debt
Statistics of Income: Number of Returns, Shares of AGI and Total Income Tax, and Average Tax Rates – Internal Revenue Service
The IRS’s Statistics of Income division crunches data from individual, corporate, estate and other types of tax returns. The one downside of SOI is that it’s slow—the most recent data they have online is for 2009, in many cases, the first year of the Great Recession. On the plus side, it provides analyses and scads of data for download. In the latter category, don’t miss this analysis (PDF) of income tax rates and the share in taxes paid by filers under each rate in 2009; in the latter category, the Sources of Income, Adjustments and Tax Items table (Microsoft Excel file) shows you a range of data, including how many individuals with income of more than $10 million derived some of it from dividends, capital gains, Social Security payments or even farm income.
The Number of Returns, Shares of AGI (that’s adjusted gross income—the amount of income filers disclose on page one of their 1040s, before they subtract deductions for things like medical expenses, the home mortgage interest and other items) and Total Income Tax, and Average Tax Rates table covers 1986 to 2009, and lets you see, over time, how the burden of taxes has fallen on individuals with different levels of income. It also shows how many filers fall into each group and how much adjusted gross income each group had, and what the effective tax rate for each group is.
The weakness of the table is that it doesn’t break down the types of deductions these individuals take, how much of their income comes from wages and salaries vs. dividends, capital gains and interest. But it still provides a good summary of who’s paying taxes.
Good to know:
- Working with IRS data can be daunting—within a few minutes you run into terms like the 1979 Income Concept, dividends before exclusion and even additional taxes. Because tax law is constantly changing, the IRS offers annual updates explaining the terms used in statistics of income data—the most recent one, for 2009, is here (PDF), and the whole series can be found in this directory. (Just look for the files named xxinsec4.pdf, with the xx being the two-character year.)
- The Bush tax cuts, passed in 2001 and 2003 and extended by Congress and President Obama in the lame duck session at the end of 2010, are set to expire at the end of 2012.
Data covers: 1986-2009