When it comes to taxes, rich pay less

Taxpayers scrambled to meet yesterday’s deadline for filing income tax returns amid reports that the richest of the rich are paying less to the Internal Revenue Service.

Submitting online from the comfort of home or at the U.S. Post Office, taxpayers turned over the complicated forms that tally up either the joyful news that a refund is coming or painful reality that even more money is due.

Watchdog groups, meanwhile, found the richest Americans are paying a smaller share of the pot than in years past. According to 2008 IRS data analyzed by the Tax Foundation, the top 1 percent of earners paid 38 percent of all federal individual income taxes, a decline from 2007 when the same group paid more than 40 percent.

Citizens for Tax Justice, which looks at all taxes paid including federal, state and local taxes, said that in 2010 the top 1 percent of earners will pay 21.5 percent of taxes. The group said that top 1 percent earned just over 20 percent of total income.

“It doesn’t make things any easier for a working stiff like me,” said David Desmarais, 37, of Stanford, Connecticut, a hotel desk clerk who mailed his tax return at the enormous main post office in New York City. “I work really hard to earn what I do, so tax day is never fun.”


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