Your Tax Burden Calculator
Tool | July 2021

Are You Paying Your Fair Share of Taxes?

How does your tax bill compare to others? Our handy tool will tell you where you rank as a taxpayer.

We're hearing a lot lately about creating a more fair and equitable tax system. President Biden and Congressional Democrats have plans to tax the rich more heavily and make them pay their "fair share" of taxes. The long list of proposals to increase taxes on wealthier Americans include raising the top income tax rate from 37% to 39.6%, eliminating the lower capital gains tax rates for people earning $1 million or more, auditing more rich people, and eliminating various tax breaks for people making at least $400,000 per year.

Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2021 Tax Year

But what about you? Are you paying your "fair share" of the nation's tax burden? Do you even have the faintest idea what portion you pay...beyond a gnawing feeling that it's too darn much? Are you in the top 1%, 5%, 10%, 25% or 50%...or the bottom 50% of income earners?

To help you answer these questions, we created a tool to show how the nation's taxable income and the country's federal income tax bill are distributed among its citizens. Our tool uses the latest IRS data to shine a bright light into what are too often murky shadows.

We also show you how your own income stacks up against that of your fellow Americans.

Are you ready to see where you fit in? With the calculator below, simply enter a single number from your latest tax return, and you'll instantly know the answer.

Enter your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your most recent federal income tax return to see how your income stacks up and what portion of the tax burden you bear:

$

Your AGI appears on Line 11 of your 2020 return and on Line 8b of your 2019 return. If you don't have your tax return handy, enter your annual salary instead – the IRS categories are broad enough that your result will likely be the same.

A Look at the Big Picture

The latest numbers from the IRS — based on data from 2018 tax returns — show what it takes to be among the top 1% of income earners: At least $540,009 of adjusted gross income (AGI). That's $24,638 more than it took to buy into this rarified status a year earlier. The 1.4 million or so returns reporting this elite income status accounted for 21% of the total AGI reported on 2018 returns.

2021 Child Tax Credit Calculator

That's right. One percent of taxpayers reported about one-fifth of all income. And that same tiny group kicked in 40% of all the federal income taxes paid.

How much do you need to make to be in the top 50% of earners? Just $43,614.

Fall below that level, and you're in the bottom half, along with about 72 million of your fellow taxpayers. All told, that group earned just 11.6% of the AGI reported on 2018 federal returns. And they paid under 3% of all the income taxes paid.

These income and tax-burden breakdowns come from information reported on 2018 individual income tax returns, which were the first returns filed after the 2017 tax reform law. Income categories are based on AGI, which is basically income from taxable sources minus certain deductions — including deductible contributions to traditional IRAs and HSAs, alimony paid and student loan interest — but before subtracting either the standard deduction or itemized deductions. Check out the table below to get an overhead view of who pays what when it comes to federal income taxes.

Income Category

2018 AGI

Percent of All
Income

Percent of Income
Taxes Paid

Top 1%

Over $540,009

20.93%

40.08%

Top 5%

Over $217,913

36.48%

60.30%

Top 10%

Over $151,935

47.66%

71.37%

Top 25%

Over $87,044

68.91%

86.97%

Top 50%

Over $43,614

88.39%

97.06%

Bottom 50%

Below $43,614

11.61%

2.94%

Source: Internal Revenue Service

(Note that these figures include only federal income taxes. According to Treasury Department estimates, most wage earners will pay more in payroll taxes — Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes — than they do in income taxes.)

22 IRS Audit Red Flags

Advertisement