Millionaires pay no federal income taxes

Blog Post
August 10, 2011By Chuck Sheketoff

In case you missed it, last week the IRS published income tax data for 2009.

In 2009, of the 236,883 taxpayers with $1 million or more in adjusted gross income, 1,470 (0.62 percent) paid no federal income taxes.

By contrast, in 2007, before the Great Recession, there were more millionaires — 392,221 — but fewer escaped paying federal income taxes. That year, 961 (0.25 percent) paid no federal income taxes.

How can it be that someone who earned a million dollars or more pays no income taxes?

It’s because our tax code is riddled with deductions, credits and exemptions that favor the well off.

While it’s true that most millionaires still paid income taxes, it’s also true that the income taxes paid by the wealthy (and especially the super wealthy) as a share of their total income has shrunk significantly since the early 1990s.

And somehow, Congress and the White House reached a debt ceiling deal that fails to require the wealthiest Americans to chip in more. Instead, the deal aims a chainsaw to the programs that protect the middle class and vulnerable Americans.

This post was originally published on on August 10, 2011. The original post can be found at