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The Distribution of Federal Taxes, 2009-12

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Publication Date: August 2009

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Rachel M. Johnson; Jeff Rohaly

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

Topic: Banking and finance (Taxation and tax policy)

Keywords: Federal Budgets & Fiscal Policy; Income and Wealth Distribution; Tax Policy; Tax Distribution and Economic Trends

Type: Paper


Overall, the federal tax system is progressive. On average, households with higher incomes pay taxes that are a larger share of their income. But barring legislative action, the numerous sunsets and phase-ins that Congress has written into the tax code will result in a tax system that is in a state of flux over the next few years. As a result, current law dictates significant changes in the degree of progressivity in the federal tax system between now and 2012. This paper summarizes the Tax Policy Center's latest estimates of the distribution of federal taxes for 2009 through 2012.