The Spring 2013 SOI showed that for 2010, taxpayers filed almost 4.3 million returns showing adjusted gross income (AGI) of $200,000 or greater. This represented about 3% of all returns filed for the tax year. Overall, most high-income taxpayers were subject to tax on a large share of their income, reporting substantial amounts of tax for the year. Only a small portion of all high-income taxpayers (0.4%) did not pay any income taxes for 2010 (down from 0.5% in 2009).
Based on “expanded income” (rather than AGI) and measured in current-year dollars, the number of high-income returns for 2010 was 64.3 times the number for ’77. Expanded income—a more comprehensive measure of income than AGI—is AGI plus tax-exempt interest, nontaxable Social Security benefits, excluded foreign-earned income, and items of tax preference for alternative minimum tax (AMT) purposes, less unreimbursed employee business expenses, moving expenses, investment interest expense to the extent it does not exceed investment income, and miscellaneous itemized deductions not subject to the 2%-of-AGI floor. When measured in ’76 constant dollars, the number of high-income returns was only 7.4 times the number for ’77. In constant dollars, the share of high-expanded income returns rose to 0.304% from 0.273% in 2009.
For individual income tax returns with an AGI of $200,000 or more, 19,003 (0.442%) showed no U.S. income tax liability; and 8,046 (.187%) showed no worldwide tax liability for the year. In comparison, for tax returns with expanded income of $200,000 or more, 32,441 (0.746%) had no U.S. income tax liability; and 16,082 (0.370%) had no worldwide income tax liability for 2010. High-income tax returns were more often nontaxable for a combination of reasons, none of which alone would result in having no tax liability.
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