Where are those millionaires?


In 2010 there were 142,823,000 tax returns filed. Of that number about 300,000 + – were for income of one million dollars or more. That is about 2/10 of 1% of taxpayers. [NOTE 1]

Keep that in mind when you hear the rhetoric about raising taxes on millionaires, all the great promises to be paid for by someone else, about all the solutions to our current fiscal problems not to be solved by involving the middle class.

[NOTE 1] Consider this from the Tax Foundation.

According to the latest data from the IRS for 2010, there were roughly 268,000 tax returns reporting more than $1 million in adjusted gross income (AGI), a slight increase above 2009 levels. 2009 had the fewest number of millionaire returns since 2004. Indeed, there were 40 percent fewer millionaire tax returns filed in 2009 than were filed in 2007.

When we look beyond these sterile financial statistics we learn that these taxpayers are typically married (and most of them are two-earner couples), they are highly educated, many are business owners, and nearly half are over the age of 55.

And while the political discourse frequently treats millionaires as monolithic, the data indicates that millionaire status appears to be fleeting or episodic. People rarely report million-dollar incomes consistently year after year because many of them become “millionaires” as the result of a one-time event such as the sale of a business or stock. Thus, it is likely that the taxpayers who reported $1 million or more in income in 2009 are not the same people who filed million-dollar returns in previous years.

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