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Fair Share of Taxes?

If you listen to politicians you may hear the words "everyone has to pay their fair share" but politicians rarely offer specifics or define what "fair share" means. The words are subjective, and mean different things to different people. What do you think is fair?

We have gotten data from the IRS that breaks down tax returns into different percentiles and income levels. The data showing how each group is defined, as well as each groups share of total reported income in this country is below.

Polling citizens to ask if they support everyone paying a "fair share" of taxes will always yield positive responses, afterall, who wants an "unfair" tax system. However, we all define "fairness" differently, and what the poll respondent might believe is "fair" could be different than what politician A believes is "fair" which could be different still from what politician B believes is "fair."

The purpose of this site is to educate and act as a survey tool to gather data on what Americans think "fair" taxes are.

Our Survey

Please take our survey below. Your answers will be stored in a database for further analysis, we will release such data later. All responses are anonymous, and are limited to one per person (or per computer, technically). We hope to be able to define what a "fair share" really is in the eyes of Americans.

The survey will automatically calculate effective tax rates based on your input of what "share" of the tax bill you want a group to pay. We're not asking you to pick a tax rate, we're asking you to define a "fair share" and based on that the computer will calculate the rate for you.

Share of Income is defined as a subset group's share of total aggregate income in the country. As a country, we collectively earn around 8 trillion dollars a year. The share of income is the percentage of that number that the subset group earns. It is in AGI, or adjusted gross income, which is taxable income reported on tax returns to the IRS after deductions but before credits.

Fair Share of Income Taxes is where we want you to put in the percentage of the total tax bill you believe this group should pay. Collectively as a country we pay around 1 trillion dollars a year in income taxes. What percentage of that total bill do you think each group should be responsible for paying?

The total of your "shares" must add up to 100.

GroupShare of IncomeFair Share of Income Taxes?
(Share, not Rate, must add up to 100)

The Top 1%
The top 1% of tax returns totaled 1,399,606 returns. This includes people or households who earn $380,354 or above.


Top 1%-5%
This 4% subset includes 5,598,423 tax returns. This includes people or households who earn between $159,619 and $380,354


Top 5%-10%
This 5% subset includes 6,998,029 tax returns. This includes people or households who earn between $113,799 and $159,619


Top 10%-25%
This 15% subset includes 20,994,087 tax returns. This includes people or households who earn between $67,280 and $113,799


Top 25%-50%
This 25% subset includes 34,990,145 tax returns. This includes people or households who earn between $33,048 and $67,280


Bottom 50%
This 50% subset includes 69,980,290 tax returns. This includes people or households who earn up to $33,048

All data from the IRS for year 2008.

This site is not affiliated with any political party or candidate, and does not endorse anyone for anything.