Top Oklahoma earners pay large majority of federal income taxes, IRS figures show

More than two-thirds of the federal income tax bill for Oklahoma for the 2010 tax year was borne by those making more than $100,000
by Chris Casteel Published: September 24, 2012

Oklahomans reported nearly $80 billion in income to the IRS for 2010 and owed nearly $9 billion in federal income taxes, according to IRS statistics that show 68 percent of the federal income tax bill was borne by households with incomes over $100,000.

The largest group of tax return filers in Oklahoma had adjusted gross incomes below $25,000. There were 688,148 households in that category — about 43 percent of the total returns filed in Oklahoma for tax year 2010. That 43 percent of filers paid less than 2 percent of the total tax bill.

The smallest group of filers had adjusted gross income over $1 million, but those 2,405 returns accounted for $1.6 billion — or about 18 percent — of the total amount owed in the state.

Leaked comments made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser about 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income taxes sparked a new debate about the distribution of the federal income tax burden.

For tax year 2010, 36 percent of Oklahomans filing a federal return owed no income taxes; the state ranked 17th that year in terms of the percentage of “non-payers,” according to the Washington-based Tax Foundation.

The large majority of those in Oklahoma who owed no taxes reported less than $25,000 in adjusted gross income. Some of those who made less than $25,000 were elderly or retired or both. More than 23,000 filers reported taxable Social Security benefits, and more than 87,000 reported taxable pensions and annuities.


by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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