Where Does Federal Revenue Come From?

Publication Date: June 2007

Publisher: Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Roberton Williams

Research Area: Banking and finance

Keywords: Economy; Federal Budgets & Fiscal Policy; Taxes, the Budget, and the Economy; General Tax Policy

Type: Report


The past 75 years have seen marked changes in the sources of federal revenue. In 1934 excise taxes accounted for almost half of all revenue, and income taxes were about one-fourth; payroll taxes barely registered on the scale. Individual income taxes and payroll taxes now account for nearly 80 percent of federal revenue and corporate income tax revenue makes up about two-thirds of the rest. This article discusses these changes in the shares of federal tax receipts by source from 1934 to 2006.