Monday, January 06, 2003

Nathan Newman informs us that corporations that pay no taxes can't be double taxed while reader Andy X tells us:

Here's an article which looks at IRS data to see exactly how many people in which income groups reported dividend income (although they don't say which year the data is from). It's an interesting view of the situation:

"Figures from the Internal Revenue Service illustrate that point. The 15.2 million tax returns that reported adjusted gross incomes of less than $50,000 had a total dividend income of $26.9 billion, according to the IRS. Fewer people -- about 10 million -- reported adjusted gross incomes of between $50,000 and $100,000, but they had more in dividend income -- $27.1 billion.

The 4.8 million returns that indicated adjusted gross incomes between $100,000 to $200,000 had $23.8 billion in dividends, and the roughly 200,000 filers reporting more than $1 million in adjusted gross income had about $25.4 billion in dividends, the IRS says."

Using these numbers, we find the average dividend income per filer for each group:

under 50K - 15200000 - 26900000000 - $176.97 per filer

50k-100k - 10000000 - 27100000000 - $2710 per filer

100K-200K - 4800000 - 23800000000 - $4958.33 per filer

Over 1000K - 200000 - 25400000000 - $127000 per filer

Regardless of the charges of "class warfare", it is obvious that as one moves up the income ladder, the returns for this type of income play a much larger role in one's income. Looking at the midpoint of the lowest group, the $176.97 represents less than 0.8% of the total income that someone in that group made that year.
Likewise with the other groups, at the midpoint, the share of total income is:
50K-100K - 3.6%
100K-200K - 3.3%

For the over $1 million set, using the lowest number (hard to find a mid-point on an open-ended set) the figure is 12.7%.

One can make different arguments about various assumptions, but the basic point, backed up by the numbers, is that this DOES help the wealthier more than other people - regardless of how Ari wants to spin the numbers.

UPDATE: Just wanted to add that though it does say it, I hadn't noticed that these numbers exclude the zeros which presuambly bias the bottom numbers upwards quite a bit and the top numbers not so much. That is, this is the set of tax returns for which the Dividend Income box is greater than 0.

Democratic Veteran has some more.