The average federal income tax payment by income level

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  • The average federal income tax payment in 2018 was $15,322, according to the most recent data available from the IRS
  • However, that figure is an average, and is higher than what most Americans actually pay each year.
  • Americans in the most common income bracket earned an adjusted gross income between $50,000 and $75,000 in 2018, and paid an average income tax of $4,688. 
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Among the 153 million Americans who filed tax returns in 2018, the average federal income tax payment was $15,322, according to the most recent IRS data based on 2018 federal income taxes.

Taxes are determined in part as a percentage of income, graduated based on income level and filing status. For some people, deductions also play a role in how much tax each person pays. 

As a result, the $15,322 average figure isn’t necessarily representative of what the typical American actually pays. That figure is an average, a measure which is easily skewed by outliers, including about 22,000 returns of people who took home more than $10 million in 2019, for example.

How much the average American paid in federal income taxes by income level

In general, the amount of tax paid increases with the amount of adjusted gross income. Here’s how much income tax Americans paid in 2018 by income level, along with the number of returns filed within each income level, according to data from the IRS Statistics of Income Division.

Adjusted gross income Average total income tax  Number of returns filed
$1 to $5,000 $134 9,187,650
$5,000 to $10,000 $237 10,014,109
$10,000 to $15,000 $153 11,454,274
$15,000 to $20,000 $491 10,187,149
$20,000 to $25,000 $994 9,610,628
$25,000 to $30,000 $1,369 8,984,412
$30,000 to $40,000 $2,057 15,510,580
$40,000 to $50,000 $2,859 12,017,312
$50,000 to $75,000 $4,688 21,460,676
$75,000 to $100,000 $7,390 13,685,409
$100,000 to $200,000 $15,277 21,146,537
$200,000 to $500,000 $47,559 6,905,670
$500,000 to $1,000,000 $156,431 1,108,430
$1,000,000 to $1,500,000 $313,160 241,713
$1,500,000 to $2,000,000 $464,253 98,583
$2,000,000 to $5,000,000 $816,360 142,011
$5,000,000 to $10,000,000 $1,872,196 34,788
$10,000,000 or more $7,386,572 22,112
All income levels, total $15,332 153,774,296

The IRS defines AGI as any wages earned, capital gains, taxable retirement account disbursements, business income, or any other income. This figure also includes adjustments to income that lower a person’s taxable income, like deductions for student loan interest paid, contributions to some retirement accounts, health savings account contributions, and more. 

The most common adjusted gross income in the US fell between $50,000 and $75,000 in 2018. Within this income segment, the average annual income tax paid was $4,688. 

This data only includes federal income taxes. It does not account for other types of taxes typically owed, like state income tax, or property taxes

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