March 29, 2000
IRS Issues Winter Statistics of Income Bulletin
WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service reported today that the number
of tax returns of all kinds to be filed this year will reach 231.4 million. This number is
expected to increase to 250.9 million six years from now. Over 26 percent of the 127.5
million individual income tax returns expected in 2000 will be filed electronically. This
percentage should grow to 38 in 2006. These data are published in the recently
released Winter 1999-2000 issue of the quarterly Statistics of Income Bulletin.
A second article presents a further analysis of individual income tax returns for
tax year 1997. It notes that there were 1.8 million returns with an adjusted gross income
of $200,000 or more for that year, which was 19 percent more than for 1996. Due to a
combination of allowable adjustments to income, as well as deductions and credits
against tax, 1,189 of these returns showed no U.S. income tax liability, compared to
1,044 the year before. Overall though, a large proportion of high-income
taxpayers was subject to tax on a major share of total income. For example, the tax on
half of the returns exceeded 25 percent of adjusted gross income. The 1997
statistics on high-income taxpayers are, however, based on returns not yet subject to
Another article reveals that in 1995 there were nearly 1.6 million living
individuals whose net worth was at least $1 million. About 29 percent were residents of
either California, New York or Florida, in that order. The number of living top wealth
holders, including the number of millionaires, was estimated based on the assets
reported for decedents on estate tax returns. In total, there were 4.4 million top wealth
holders (those with gross assets of $600,000 or more, the estate tax return filing
threshold in 1995). This number was 2.5 percent of the total U.S. adult population.
About 2.8 million were men and 1.6 million were women. The total assets of these
individuals exceeded $6.7 trillion, nearly 27.4 percent of total U.S. personal wealth as
estimated by the Federal Reserve Board. While the number of top wealth holders
increased over time, the percentage of wealth held by the top 1.0 percent and top 0.5
percent did not change significantly between 1989 and 1995, suggesting that wealth
concentration in the United States was relatively stable over these years.
A fourth article reports that the U.S.-source income paid to foreign persons in
1997 was $132.8 billion, an increase of nearly 18 percent over 1996. This total
includes payments made to foreign corporations, but excludes bank deposit interest
and certain income connected with U.S. business operations. Despite the increase in income paid
during 1997, the $2.5 billion in U.S. tax withheld by income payers was down slightly
compared to 1996. Payments made to Japanese persons during 1997 grew 27
percent to $39.6 billion, but those to persons in the United Kingdom, the second largest
recipient country, dropped nearly 11 percent to $20.5 billion. Together these two countries accounted for almost half of the total.
The final article indicates that the number of nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable
organizations (excluding private foundations) filing tax returns for 1996 reached
192,000. Another 462,000 such organizations did not have to file a return because
they were either too small or were churches or other religious organizations. Those
filing returns reported $0.7 trillion in revenue, up 6 percent over 1995, and assets that
totaled $1.3 trillion.
The Bulletin also includes historical data on income, deductions, and tax reported on
returns filed by individuals, corporations, and unincorporated businesses, with selected data
presented for estates. Statistics are also presented on tax collections and refunds for recent
The Statistics of Income Bulletin is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S.
Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. The annual
subscription rate is $30 ($37.50 foreign), single issues cost $19 ($23.75 foreign). For more
information about these data, write the Director, Statistics of Income (SOI) Division, OP:RS:S,
Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 2608, Washington, DC 20013-2608, check the World Wide
Web at http://www.irs.gov, or telephone the SOI statistical information services office at (202)
874-0410, by fax, (202) 874-0964.
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