How much more would Herman Cain's
9-9-9 tax plan cost you?
Social Security benefits increase in 2012

Where do your earnings rank?

The 99 percenters gathering at Occupy Wall Street protests and Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax reform plan have us once again wondering just where we stand in relation to our fellow income earners.

You can find out your financial standing thanks to a Kiplinger calculator into which you enter your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your tax return; that's line 37 on the 1040, line 21 on the 1040A and line 4 on the 1040EZ.

The online calculator then shows you where rank on the income scale.

A $30,000 AGI entry reveals:

  • Your $30,000 adjusted gross income puts you in the lowest 50 percent of earners.
  • The lowest-earning 50 percent of taxpayers reported 13.48 percent of all AGI and paid 2.25 percent of total income taxes.
  • Together, you and the other 68.9 million taxpayers with incomes of $32,396 or less paid a total of $32.4 billion in federal income taxes. This includes millions of low-income workers who actually paid negative income taxes because their Earned Income Tax Credits wiped out their income-tax liability and refunded to them part of the Social Security taxes they paid.

On the other end of the spectrum, a $250,000 AGI taxpayer discovers:

  • Your $250,000 adjusted gross income puts you in the top 5 percent of earners.
  • The top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers reported 31.72 percent of all AGI and paid 58.66 percent of total income taxes.
  • Together, you and the other 6.9 million taxpayers with incomes of $154,643 or more paid a total of $507.9 billion in federal income taxes.

It's a fun diversion, but the breakdown isn't incredibly specific, at least not on the lower end of the earnings scale.

The calculator will tell you whether you're in the top 1 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent, 25 percent or 50 percent or whether you're in the bottom 50 percent of income earners.

That's right. The calculator offers the potential for really cool high income bragging rights the next time you see your snotty cousin or that bully from high school.

But when earnings don't make it into the upper levels, the online tool opts for a broader disclosure. 

I can understand. There's no need to crush workers' spirits by letting them know that basically every other single person in the country makes more money.

Hat tip: Bucks blog via @ronlieber

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Loan Modification Application

Interesting calculation. Well this calculator is needed for every business person to calculate their financial status.

Pamela Baggett

I don't know if this was a good or bad discovery about my income, but it was at least informative. I believe this was aimed at individual taxpayers. Is the calculation the same for joint filing households?

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