The Surprising Numbers Behind America’s Tax System

Income taxes, payroll taxes, and who’s footing the bill

April 2022

Script

This video is part of our Kite & Key Shorts series—easy to understand...but hard to forget.

 

Dreading Tax Day again? You’re not the only one. 61% of Americans report that money is a major source of stress in their lives.i

But some Americans have a lot more to worry about on Tax Day than others.

In the most recent year for which data is available (2019), taxpayers forked over $1.6 trillion in individual income taxes to the federal government. If every adult in the U.S. that year had split the bill evenly ... it would have come out to about $6,300 per person.ii

But they didn’t.

The top 50% of American earners paid 97% of all individual income taxes ... while the bottom half of taxpayers paid the remaining 3%.

That doesn’t mean, however, that lower-income Americans are getting a free ride. Most Americans actually pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes.iii And the lowest-income Americans pay a larger percentage of their income to payroll taxes than the wealthiest ones.

So, whether you’re rich or not-so-rich ... you’ve still probably got a pretty good reason to grumble about Tax Day.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  1. Americans paid $1.6 trillion in individual income taxes in 2019.
  2. The top 50% of American earners paid 97% of all individual income taxes.
  3. Most Americans pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes.

Sources

  1. “Stress in America 2021” — American Psychological Association 
  2. "National Population by Characteristics: 2010-2019" — U.S. Census Bureau 
  3. "Summary of the Latest Federal Income Tax Data, 2022 Update" (Erica York) — Tax Foundation

Shownotes

SOUND: “The Stompin 5” (Elvis Schoenberg’s Orchestra Surreal) 

FOOTAGE: Nataliya Vaitkevich (Pexels) 

CITED SOURCES AND NEWS OUTLETS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH AND HAVE NOT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED ANY PORTION OF THIS PRODUCTION.

Sources

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