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The Distribution of Federal Taxes, 2008-11

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Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Jeff Rohaly

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Banking and finance (Taxation and tax policy)

Keywords: Economy; Income and Wealth Distribution; Tax Policy; Tax Distribution and Economic Trends

Type: Report


Overall, the federal tax system is highly progressive. On average, households with higher incomes pay taxes that are a larger share of their income. The tax cuts passed since 2001 have reduced progressivity with the notable exception of the 2008 stimulus package. Almost all provisions of the tax cuts are set to expire by the end of 2010. Barring legislative action, effective tax rates will rise across the income spectrum in 2011 with the largest increases in the upper income classes. This paper summarizes the Tax Policy Center's latest estimates of the distribution of federal taxes for 2008 through 2011.