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Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Basic Facts

Author

Listed:
  • Guner, Nezih

    () (CEMFI, Madrid)

  • Kaygusuz, Remzi

    () (Sabanci University)

  • Ventura, Gustavo

    () (Arizona State University)

Abstract

We use micro data from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to document how households' tax liabilities vary with income, marital status and the number of dependents. We report facts on the distributions of average and marginal taxes, properties of the joint distributions of taxes paid and income, and discuss how taxes are affected by marital status and the number of children. The data reveals a large dispersion in tax rates and taxes paid. Ranking households according to the average tax rates they face, those at top 1% face taxes in excess of 27.5%, while the median tax rate is about 8%. About 14.5% of married and 31.8% of unmarried households do not pay any taxes. Given the progressivity in the system, tax liabilities are more unequally distributed than income. The top 5% (1%) of households account for 54% (34.8%) of total tax liabilities, while top 5% (1%) of households have 34.8% (20.3%) of total income. We also provide parametric estimates of tax functions for use in applied work in macroeconomics and public finance.

Suggested Citation

  • Guner, Nezih & Kaygusuz, Remzi & Ventura, Gustavo, 2011. "Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Basic Facts," IZA Discussion Papers 5549, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5549
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2006. "Flat Tax Reforms in the U.S.: a Boon for the Income Poor," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 400, Society for Computational Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guner, Nezih & Kaygusuz, Remzi & Ventura, Gustavo, 2012. "Taxing women: A macroeconomic analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 111-128.
    2. Guner, Nezih & Kaygusuz, Remzi & Ventura, Gustavo, 2013. "Childcare Subsidies and Household Labor Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 9775, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Aspen Gorry & Ezra Oberfield, 2012. "Optimal Taxation Over the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(4), pages 551-572, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    households; tax progressivity; taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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