Few Arkies need sweat tax plan
By Paul Barton
WASHINGTON – If Congress goes along with President Obama’s plan to raise income taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $200,000, fewer than 20,000 Arkansas tax filers would even come close to having to sweat it.
That's less than 2 percent of the number of taxpayers in Arkansas and the number is likely smaller than that.
Obama’s budget calls for tax increases on that group beginning in 2011.
According to numbers provided to the Arkansas Times by the Internal Revenue Service this week, only 19,309 joint and individual filers combined from the state had adjusted gross incomes of more than $200,000 for tax year 2006, the latest year for which figures are available.
The $200,000-and-up figure is the top adjusted gross income breakdown available on a state-by-state basis from the IRS, which is part of the Treasury Department. A Treasury Department spokesman said officials are hoping to pinpoint it even further to take into account the higher cutoff for the tax increase, but don’t have the figures yet.
Adjusted gross income is gross income minus adjustments for a smattering of items such as contributions to certain types of retirement and health accounts, alimony and unreimbursed business expenses. It is last line on the first page of a Form 1040 and is a widely used statistic for comparing wealth.
In total, 1,184,565 joint and individual federal income tax returns came from Arkansas in 2006. And most of those – 875,057 - came from the other end of the scale, those with adjusted gross incomes of $50,000 or less.
As for Arkansas and surrounding states, only one – you guessed it – had a smaller number of joint and individual filers with adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 or more. The figure for Mississippi was 18,382. Mississippi had 1,234,286 filers overall with 940,634 at or below $50,000.
Figures for other surrounding states:
- Texas: 288,621 over $200,000, with 7,024,439 under $50,000 and 10,090,061 filers overall.
- Oklahoma: 30,346 over $200,000, with 1,103,725 under $50,000 and 1,544,498 overall.
- Missouri: 53,853 over $200,000, with 1,182,948 under $50,000 and 2,720,684 overall.
- Tennessee: 59,412 over $200,000, with 1,958,542 under $50,000 and 2,742,268 overall.
- Louisiana: 42,460 over $200,000, with 1,364,028 under $50,000 and 1,894,724 overall.
Nationwide, number of households that would be affected by Obama’s proposals is less than 2 percent, according to most estimates.
Business and conservative groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have complained the increases would be a blow to large numbers of small business owners who file using individual rates. But the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank, issued a study earlier this month saying the number of small businesses affected by Obama’s plan would also be around 2 percent or less.