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.

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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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