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Here's how much wealthy Americans pay in taxes

Brittany De Lea

Out of the 150 million-plus taxpayers expected to file returns this year, new data shows the country’s wealthiest residents bear a sizable tax burden when compared with lower-earning payers.

According to data released recently by the Internal Revenue Service, compiled by the Tax Foundation, the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers paid about $43.9 billion in income taxes 2016– which accounts for roughly 3 percent of all income taxes paid.

The top 1 percent, on the other hand, accounted for about 37.3 percent of all income taxes paid during the same year.

“The 2016 IRS data shows that taxpayers with higher incomes pay much higher average income tax rates than lower-income taxpayers,” the Tax Foundation concluded.

Here’s a look at what the highest-earning Americans paid:

Top 1 percent

The top 1 percent of earners filed about 1.4 million returns in 2016. They had a cumulative adjusted gross income valued at more than $2 trillion.

The top 1 percent paid the highest effective income tax rate – at about 27 percent – than any other group. That percentage is also more than seven-times the rate paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers. Those in the top 0.1 percent paid an even higher rate, at 27.1 percent.

Individuals in the top 1 percent of earners paid more than $538 billion in income taxes in 2016 – more than the bottom 90 percent of payers combined.

Top 5 percent

The top 5 percent of filers submitted more than 7 million returns in 2016 – accounting for more than 35 percent of total adjusted gross income.

This group paid a collective $839.8 billion in income taxes in 2016. That represents more than 58 percent of the share of total income taxes paid that year.

Americans between the top 1 percent and the top 5 percent paid the second highest average income tax rate – at about 19.2 percent.

Top 10 percent

Taxpayers belonging to America’s top 10 percent of earners filed more than 14 million returns in 2016. This group reported adjusted gross income of more than $4.7 trillion.

People belonging to this group paid more than $1 trillion, collectively, in income taxes. Their share of total income taxes paid was about 69 percent.


Those with incomes among the top 5 percent to 10 percent paid an average federal income tax rate of 14 percent.

Overall, the top 50 percent of taxpayers paid 97 percent of all individual income taxes.

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