Entries in Tax Rates (2)


What Would France’s 75% Tax Rate Look Like in US?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The French government’s budget presented Friday, which is imposing a 75 percent tax rate for income exceeding 1 million euros ($1.39 million), is expected to inspire a number of wealthy French to move their residency to other countries. The 75 percent rate seems shockingly high, but if it were instituted in the U.S. it would still not be enough to even balance the budget.

How much money would a 75 percent tax rate for people with incomes over $1 million earn in the U.S.?

It’s tough to say, says William McBride, chief economist of the conservative think-tank, The Tax Foundation.  In the “rosiest” scenario of a higher tax-rate, millionaires would continue working, not renounce their citizenship nor find tax shelters, he said.

In France, one’s tax status is mostly based on residency, as opposed to the U.S., which requires all U.S. citizens regardless of residency to file with the Internal Revenue Service.

If the U.S. were to tax 75 percent of millionaires’ entire incomes, not just their income over $1 million, that would yield around $532 billion in tax revenue, he said.

McBride points out that such a tax rate here would make only a 48 percent dent in the nation’s deficit, which is expected to reach $1.1 trillion this year, the Congressional Budget Office said in August.  And that still would not pay down by one dime the $16 trillion plus national debt.

Again, that is in the “rosiest” situation. In France, the 75 percent tax rate is levied on millionaires' incomes only over €1 million and will last only for two years.

“It’s not as if it comes at no cost. The cost is a huge waste of resources in the form of tax planning, investors leaving the country, or investors who stay will stop investing,” McBride said. “There would be a loss in investment over time due to lower productivity, lower wages for everyone. It would cause massive harm to the economy with little or no gain in revenue.”

The top marginal tax rate in the U.S. has ranged from a high of 94 percent during World War II to 91 percent from 1950 to 1963 then gradually falling to the current rate of 35 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tax Brackets: Who Should Pay What to Fix the National Debt?

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Taxes are in the air. Tax day is approaching next week and one of the main sticking points of the entitlement reform debate that has been in the news this week comes down to taxes.

President Obama vowed Wednesday that he would not again extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Americans generally support higher taxes for the wealthy. But when the argument is re-framed as higher taxes on small businesses and the middle class, the attitudes change. Many Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner have vowed that a deficit reduction plan cannot raise taxes.

Others, like Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., have said everything must be on the table.

Turns out its been a pretty good couple of decades for the wealthy. A new analysis by the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute analyzes tax rates for the wealth over the past 22 years and finds that the tax rate for the wealthy have fallen much more than they have for average Americans.

The top one percent of American households paid about a 37-percent annual tax rate in 1979. By 1992 that rate was down to 30.6 percent. And by 2007, it was down to 29.7 percent.

The super-wealthy have done even better, according to EPI. They paid an average 26.4-percent tax rate in 1992 and a mere 16.6-percent tax rate by 2007. That means that the wealthiest Americans pay a lower tax rate than the average American. Why? The average American might make less money from traditional income -- salary from a job, say -- whereas the wealthiest make much of their income from investments. The top tax rate for long-held investments is much lower -- 15 percent -- than it is for regular income -- 35 percent.

President Obama and a Democratically controlled Congress voted to extend Bush-era tax cuts last December, arguing along with Republicans that the tax cuts should not expire amidst a recession.

The wealthy did better in the deal than did regular Americans. The average tax rate in 1972 was about 22 percent. It was slightly lower, 21.5 percent in 1992 and 20.4 percent in 2007 after all the Bush-era tax cuts were first enacted.

That’s why, argue the study authors, the federal government is in such dire economic state with the federal deficit.

“This diminished tax burden on the wealthiest has contributed to the historically low federal revenue levels we are seeing today, and in turn, to higher deficits. The Congressional Budget Office projects federal revenue in 2011 will total 14.8% of GDP -- the lowest level since 1950. At the same time that the tax burden has shifted away from the wealthy, this same top income group has enjoyed  massively disproportionate income gains,” according to the post by EPI analysts Ethan Pollack and Rebecca Theiss.

The top one percent of income earners earn 22 percent of all income and pay 40 percent of all income taxes, according to Chris Dubay, a tax policy analyst at the right-of-center Heritage Foundation. And taking money from the wealthy means they’ll take their money elsewhere, he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio