More than 1.3 million American taxpayers can now say they're part of the upper crust.
That's the number of taxpayers who reported an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more in 1995 - the most recent year available - according to New Internal Revenue Service statistics. This is a 14 percent increase from 1994.In all, returns from the wealthiest segment of the population amounted to only about 1.1 percent of total tax returns that year, but they paid a total of $182.5 billion in federal taxes.
The IRS report released Wednesday says 998 of the top earners paid no U.S. income taxes at all.
The reasons so many escaped taxes are perfectly legal: they took advantage of a variety of tax credits, itemized deductions and particularly a deduction for interest on money borrowed to make other investments.
The taxpayers who didn't pay any taxes reported about $600 million in adjusted gross income in 1995. The remaining high-income taxpayers earned about $640 billion that year.
The numbers are featured in the most recent Statistics of Income Bulletin, published quarterly by the IRS since 1918. The bulletin reveals which groups of Americans pay taxes to the federal government, which doesn't and which are making money.
Other facts culled from the report:
- Sole business proprietors other than farmers earned profits of $176.8 billion in 1996, a 4.4 percent increase from the year before. There are 16.9 million such small businesses that reported total receipts from sales or services of $843.2 billion.
- Corporate profits of $714.2 billion in 1995 marked a 24 percent increase over 1994, according to income tax returns filed by 4.5 million corporations. Total sales, service and investment receipts topped $1.4 trillion and total income tax reported was $156.4 billion, a 14 percent increase com-pared with 1994.
- Income paid to foreigners that originated in the United States totaled $95.8 billion in 1995, up 14 percent from the year earlier. Income paid to Japanese individuals rose the most at 28 percent, or $27.3 billion.