3 Tax Day Charts to Boost Your Blood Pressure

Who’s paying—and dodging—the taxman today.

As another Tax Day arrives, here are three charts that may not ease the pain of paying the taxman, but may help put it in perspective.

The top 1 percent of earners are expected to pay nearly half of all 2014 federal income taxes, while the lowest 80 percent will pay 15 percent. However, according to the IRS, the top 400 taxpayers by income saw their total real income grow 338 percent between 1992 and 2012, while their average tax rate dropped more than 35 percent. 

And while federal income tax rates go up with income, when you account for state and local taxes, the effective tax rate faced by each income group starts to look less progressive, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. And, as Vox‘s Dylan Matthews points out, the tax burden for roughly 65 percent of American families comes from payroll taxes along with state and local taxes.

In the last 60 years, the share of federal tax revenue from individual tax income has remained relatively stable. Meanwhile, the share from payroll taxes has steadily increased while corporate taxes’ share has declined. While companies complain about steep taxes, consider that major US companies have stashed billions in profits overseas, beyond the reach of the IRS.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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