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You’d Need to Earn This Much to Be in the Top 1%, 5%, 10%, 25%, or 50% in the U.S.

Curious how your income and tax burden stacks up next to other Americans? This 2013 data from the IRS should answer all of your questions.

Tax Day has officially come and gone for another year, but what many Americans may not realize is that being tax-conscious is something that should be ongoing without a beginning or end date. No one enjoys forking over any percentage of their income to the federal government, but we also know that taxes are necessary such that the federal government has funds to pay for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, income security programs, defense, and all of the other various programs that eat up a combined $4 trillion annually.

However, what’s well known about federal income taxes is what one person owes compared to another can differ wildly. This is where federal income tax statistics from the Internal Revenue Service can come in handy by giving us a sneak peek at who’s earning what, and how much they’re really paying.

How does your income and tax burden stack up to everyone else?
Recently, the IRS released income and tax-burden data from 2013, which personal finance-based publisher Kiplinger aggregated into an easier-to-understand format. Based on the IRS’s income and tax-burden data, we can get a detailed look at how much Americans need to earn to find themselves in the exclusive top 1%. Additionally, the data breaks out what you’d need to have earned in 2013 to find yourself in the top 5%, top 10%, top 25%, and top 50%. Mind you, this data looks solely at federal income and doesn’t take into account what tax burden individuals might face at the local or state level.

Here’s how things shaped up in 2013:

Income Category

2013 AGI

Top 1% > $428,712
Top 5% > $179,759
Top 10% > $127,694
Top 25% > $74,954
Top 50% > $36,840
Bottom 50% < $36,840 Table by author. Data source: Kiplinger via IRS. AGI = adjusted gross income. You'd have needed to earn nearly $429,000 in adjusted gross income (this means after deductions and credits are factored in) to be part of the top 1% in the United States. You'd have also needed almost $180,000 just to crack the top 5%, and nearly $128,000 to be in the top 10%. I found these figures to be higher than I would have expected. Conversely, earning more than $36,840 in AGI would have put you in the upper-half of income-earners in 2013. This figure was certainly lower than I'd imagined it would be. Income Category Percent of All Income Top 1% 19% Top 5% 34.4% Top 10% 45.9% Top 25% 68.1% Top 50% 88.5% Bottom 50% 11.5% Table by author. Data source: Kiplinger via IRS, data is from 2013. In terms of all income earned in 2013, we can certainly see why the income-inequality debate continues to rage on. The top 1% accounted for 19% of all income earned in this country in 2013. By comparison, the bottom 50% combined only wound up with 11.5% of all income earned. Being in the top 10% essentially meant that you were responsible for close to half of all of this country's 2013 income.

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