Study: Bush tax cuts making rich richer
Report: The wealthiest Americans are reaping huge gains from reduced taxes on investment income.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Bush's tax cuts for investment income have significantly lowered the tax burden on the richest Americans, reducing taxes on incomes of more than $10 million by an average of about $500,000, according to a report Wednesday.
An analysis of Internal Revenue Service data by The New York Times found that the benefit of the lower taxes on investments was more concentrated on the very wealthiest Americans than the benefits of President Bush's two previous tax cuts.
The Times analyzed IRS figures for 2003, the latest year available and the first that reflected the tax cuts for income from dividends and from the sale of stock and other assets, known as capital gains.
According to the study, taxpayers with incomes greater than $10 million reduced their investment tax bill by an average of about $500,000 in 2003, and their total tax savings, which included the two Bush tax cuts on compensation, nearly doubled, to slightly more than $1 million.
These taxpayers, whose average income was $26 million, paid about the same share of their income in income taxes as those making $200,000 to $500,000 because of the lowered rates on investment income.
Americans with annual incomes of $1 million or more reaped 43 percent of all the savings on investment taxes in 2003. The savings for these taxpayers averaged about $41,400 each.
The newspaper's tax cut analysis showed that more than 70 percent of the tax savings on investment income went to the top 2 percent, about 2.6 million taxpayers.
And the savings from the investment tax cuts are expected to be larger in subsequent years because of gains in the stock market.
Congress is now debating whether to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.
Stephen Entin, president of the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation, a Washington organization, told the Times that the tax cuts did not go far enough because the more money the wealthiest had to invest, the more that would go to investments that produce jobs.
Opponents told the newspaper the cuts are too generous to those who already have plenty. Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said after seeing the new figures that "these tax cuts are beyond irresponsible" when "we're in a war; we haven't fixed Social Security or Medicare; we've got record deficits."
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