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Capital Gains Tax Cuts Slashed Taxes of Top 400, While Their Incomes Soared

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Publication Date: March 2008

Publisher(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Aviva Aron-Dine

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

Topic: Banking and finance (Taxation and tax policy)

Keywords: Economic projections; Federal budget; Tax code; Income diversity

Type: Report


New Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data show that the 400 U.S. taxpayers with the very highest incomes pay only 18 percent of their income, on average, in federal individual income taxes.  The data, published by the Wall Street Journal and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, provide detailed income and tax information for the 400 tax filers with the highest adjusted gross incomes (AGI) in each year from 1992 to 2005.  They show that while the incomes of those at the top have skyrocketed, their tax rates have fallen significantly, with the largest reductions occurring after the capital gains tax cuts of 1997 and 2003.