At CFIF, the issue of improving taxpayer privacy and protection against persistent abuse by the Internal…
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Quote of the Day: Taxpayer Privacy and IRS Abuse

At CFIF, the issue of improving taxpayer privacy and protection against persistent abuse by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) remains among our most important missions.  Among the abuses that we've chronicled is the case of convicted criminal Charles Littlejohn, who rejoined the IRS in 2017 with the specific purpose of illegally breaching and leaking the private tax returns of Donald Trump and other Americans to radical left-wing organizations like ProPublica.

In The Wall Street Journal this week, one of those victims speaks out on his own experience and the need for greater taxpayer protection against this recurring problem that should terrify all Americans of every political persuasion.  Ira Stoll, whose tax information was passed to ProPublica, even helpfully details how…[more]

May 29, 2024 • 11:28 AM

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Latest IRS Data: Wealthier Americans Again Paid More than Their “Fair Share” Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 14 2010
Wealthier Americans don’t pay their fair share of the nation’s income tax burden – they actually pay more than their fair share. Says who? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“The rich are not paying their fair share.” 

So said Hillary Clinton earlier this year, parroting one of the political left’s favorite canards.  In fairness, perhaps she only meant to reference her own gilded marital syndicate with Bill. 

Regardless, she’s absolutely right, but in a very different manner than she intended.  Wealthier Americans don’t pay their fair share of the nation’s income tax burden – they actually pay more than their fair share. 

Says who?  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

This month, the IRS released its annual summary of federal income tax data, including its breakdown of earnings and tax rate categories.  Once again, the real-world numbers flatly contradict the myth perpetuated by class warriors attempting to justify government growth and even higher taxation. 

Here are the IRS numbers for 2008, the latest year available: 

The wealthiest 1% of American taxpayers (incomes of $380,354 and higher) earned 20.00% of the nation’s income in 2008, which was down from its 22.83% income share in 2007.  Their share of income taxes paid, however, was 38.02%.  Accordingly, the portion of income taxes paid by the top 1% was approximately twice as high as their portion of income earned. 

If that two-to-one ratio doesn’t constitute a “fair share,” it’s difficult to imagine what does in the mind of the modern liberal. 

That same dynamic applies across all income categories.  The top 5%, with incomes over $159,619, earned 34.73% of the nation’s income, but paid 58.72% of the nation’s income taxes.  Not quite the two-to-one income earned/taxes paid ratio of the top 1%, but pretty close and still highly disproportionate. 

Moreover, that means that the top 5% paid more income taxes than the remaining 95% combined. 

The top 10% bracket (incomes above $113,799) earned 45.77% of the nation’s overall income, but paid 69.94% of the nation’s income taxes.  When the top 10% doesn’t earn half the nation’s total income but pays approximately 70% of its total income taxes, under what delusional standard is that “not their fair share?” 

The top 25%, which encompasses incomes above $67,280, earned 67.38% of total income for 2008, but accounted for 86.34% of income taxes paid, and the top 50% segment (incomes above $33,048) earned 87.25% of America’s income but paid an astonishing 97.30% of income taxes. 

How about the bottom 50%, with incomes of $33,048 and below?  According to the IRS data, they earned 12.75% of national income in 2008, but paid 2.70% of income taxes.  And even that amount is down from the 2.89% share from 2007. 

Just as importantly, the IRS tables provide some very eye-opening historical data.  It isn’t pretty for Oliver Stone and other Reagan or Bush antagonists. 

The political left persistently characterizes Ronald Reagan’s presidency as the point at which “the rich” really began to prosper at the expense of middle- and lower-class Americans, but the facts again show the opposite.  In 1980, the top 1% paid 19.05% of the nation’s income taxes, but in 2008 paid 38.02% - twice as much.  The top 5% of Americans paid 36.84% of the income tax burden in 1980, but 58.72% in 2008.  In 1980, before the supposed “Decade of Greed,” the top 10% bracket paid 49.28% of America’s income taxes, but that increased to 69.94% for 2008.  The same is true of the top 25%, which accounted for 73.02% of the income tax burden in 1980, but 86.34% in 2008.  For its part, the bottom 50% of American income earners saw its national tax share decline from 7.05% in 1980 to 2.70% in 2008. 

Contrary to lazy popular myth, wealthier Americans also saw their income tax portions increase during the Bush years. 

Since 2001, the top 1% saw its share of income taxes rise from 33.89% to 38.02%.  During that 2001 to 2008 period, the top 5% saw its income tax burden increase from 53.25% to 58.72%, and the top 10% paid 64.89% of the nation’s income taxes in 2001 but 69.94% in 2008.  The top quartile’s share rose from 82.90% to 86.34% from 2001 to 2008, and the top half’s share rose from 96.03% to 97.30% during that span. 

As we approach the largest tax increase in history when the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire on January 1, this straightforward IRS data provides extremely important perspective. 

Ignorance serves the purposes of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as they seek to “spread the wealth around” and impose even more burdens on American families and small businesses.  Ironically, the IRS itself provides a welcome roadblock to their destructive scheme. 

Notable Quote   
 
"Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says Democrats have tipped their hand to their desire to unleash noncitizen voting by opposing his state's citizenship verification in court and he is urging elections chiefs in other states to fight such lawsuits.Georgia's citizenship verification system has prevented noncitizens from getting on state voter rolls, but the state had to defend it in court…[more]
 
 
— Natalia Mittelstadt, Just the News
 
Liberty Poll   

Which would be the most useful for voters: a televised presidential debate that only includes Trump and Biden or one that adds Kennedy?