Who's Rich?

Physician's Money Digest, May 15 2004, Volume 11, Issue 9

Asking politicians to define "middleclass" and "well to do," especially duringan election year, may not elicitanswers that are worth the effort, butthere are some tax statistics that canhelp nonpoliticians gauge which taxpayersthe elected officials are talkingabout. Even if you think of yourself asmiddle class, for example, you need anincome of just $71,786 to land in theupper 20% of all tax filers and qualifystatistically as "rich." And, if you're inthat group, the odds are that you'remarried, since married couples make up85% of the tax filers in the upper quintile.Married couples, often faced withhigh mortgage payments and collegecosts for children, also pay 74% of allincome taxes. Overall, taxpayers withadjusted gross incomes of more than$56,000 (the top 25%) shoulder almost83% of the total income tax burden.On the other hand, about a thirdof all US tax filers will pay no incometaxes this year.