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Where does your taxable income rank?

Democratic Congressional leaders swear they're going to at least begin the debate on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts this month. We shall see.

Much of the talk in political circles has been about keeping the current lower tax rates -- 10 percent, 15 percent and 25 percent -- in effect, but hiking the top tax rate from 35 percent to 36.9 percent. Theoretically, this would tax those in the higher/highest tax brackets while leaving the majority of us who have less income taxed at lower rates.

So I thought you might like finding out exactly where your income ranks compared to other taxpayers.

Kiplinger took 2007 tax data (the most complete available) from the IRS and created an online calculator to show you where your income ranks compared to the rest of U.S. taxpayers.

I ran some various incomes through the calculator and learned that, in 2007 at least:

  • The top-earning 50 percent of taxpayers reported 87.7 percent of all adjusted gross income (AGI) and paid 97.1 percent of total income taxes. 
  • The top-earning 10 percent of taxpayers reported 48 percent of all AGI and paid 71.2 percent of total income taxes. 
  • The top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers reported 37.4 percent of all AGI and paid 60.6 percent of total income taxes. 
  • The top-earning 1 percent of taxpayers reported 22.8 percent of all AGI and paid 40.4 percent of total income taxes.

At the bottom of the income scale, the calculator told me that the lowest-earning 50 percent of taxpayers reported 12.3 percent of all AGI and paid 2.89 percent of total income taxes.

Kiplinger points out that its figures include only federal income taxes.

According to one study, says the magazine, 56 percent of all wage earners pay more in Social Security and Medicare taxes than they do income tax.

The percentage of those paying more payroll tax than income tax soars to 86 percent when both the employer and employee contributions to Social Security and Medicare are counted.

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My apologies to JoeTaxpayer, who blogs at and has been a guest blogger here on DMWT. He tried to comment on this post, but got an error message. I'm tracking down the problem. In the meantime, here's what Joe tried to post himself:

I think people are always curious how they fit into the big picture. Where they stand next to their neighbors and others. The Kiplinger table driving the widget has little granularity at the higher end.

5% cutoff is $160,041 - Interesting but as expected

1% cutoff is $410,096 - I'd have guessed a bit lower, but numbers I've seen were not as recent.

This raises some interesting questions such as what we think of as "rich" or "upper class."

Obama references the $250K level in many of his remarks. He seems to be referencing just 2% or so. 4 months till the breaks end...

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