The U.S. tax system is progressive, with higher income taxpayers facing higher tax rates
August 10, 2015

Too often, discussions about the federal tax code are clouded and confused because they focus on only one part of our federal tax system — usually the individual income tax — and ignore the fact that Americans pay many other taxes. Viewed in aggregate, our tax system is generally progressive, with higher-income taxpayers paying a larger share of their income in taxes. However, taxpayers at different ends of the income distribution pay different types of taxes. For low-income Americans, the payroll tax is the dominant tax; for high-income Americans, individual and corporate income taxes are important parts of their effective tax rate.

For a full discussion of the effective tax rates borne by taxpayers with different levels of income, see "How Much Do Americans Pay in Federal Taxes?"

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