TAR Share of AGI 1960-1994

From time to time we receive requests for updates to the table from our 1993 paper Income Inequality and the Incomes of Very High-Income Taxpayers: Evidence from Tax Returns. Published in Tax Policy and the Economy no. 7 edited by Jame Poterba. MIT Press, Cambridge, 1993.

Since writing that paper we now have available the original public use files distributed by the Statistics of Income Division of the IRS for the year 1960 to 1994. There are no public use files for 1961, 1963 and 1965 however. The samples of actual tax returns obviates the need for interpolating in published tables, as was done in the published paper.

Here is the table for the top .5%, 1% and 5% of taxpayers share of AGI. For example, in 1960 6.55% of AGI went to the top .5% of taxpayers, 9.51% to the top 1% and 22.60% to the top 5%. Here is the same table, but for non-gain income only.

As was explained in the paper, the 'top .5% of taxpayers' refers to the number of taxpayers who are the top one-half of one percent in the year 1990, adjusted to other years in proportion to the adult population.

Daniel Feenberg
James Poterba

last modified May 23, 2008 by feenberg at nber dotte org