Tags: Super | Rich | Tax | Rates

Super-Rich Getting ‘Poorer,’ Yet Paying Higher Tax Rates

Friday, 08 Jun 2012 07:42 AM

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The country's top 400 earners in the U.S. forked over $16 billion to the Internal Revenue Service in 2009, according to the latest data available.

The richest 400 reported an average adjusted gross income of $202.4 million in 2009, down from $270.5 million in 2008 and well beneath $344.8 million in 2007, according the latest IRS data.

The average federal income tax bill among the top 400 in 2009 hit $40.9 million, down from around $49.0 million in 2008 and $57.3 million in 2007, IRS data show.

Editor's Note: This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

As a group, the top 400 paid an average effective tax rate of 19.91 percent, up from 18.11 percent a year earlier and up from 16.62 percent in 2007.

The so-called Fortunate 400's total income taxes paid fell to $16.1 billion in 2009 compared to $19.6 billion in 2008 and $22.9 billion in 2007.

Taxes on the wealthy have taken center stage this year after legendary investor Warren Buffett said publicly the rich should pay more taxes, citing as evidence that his secretary pays more of a percentage of her income in taxes than he does.

Democrats were quick to pounce on the idea, calling for a so-called Buffett tax that would set a minimum tax rate of 30 percent for all households bringing in more than a million a year.

Most wealthy pay tax rates of around 15 percent since their income consists mainly of investments.

"I've operated under all kinds of tax rates including 39.6 percent on capital gains and the country has grown under all these circumstances," Buffett told members of Washington, D.C.'s Economic Club, according to ABC News.

With the national debt over $15 trillion, more taxes are inevitable, and "somebody has to step up" and draw a blueprint to raise $300 billion more in taxes each year and cut spending to 20 percent of gross domestic product, Buffett says.

"Just talking about reform won't solve anything on either the expenditures side or the revenue side," Buffett said.

"I mean you've got to get specific about it."

Editor's Note: This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown



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