The Average Federal Income Tax Return

by Joyce Rouse

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects federal income taxes annually. The deadline for individuals is always April 15, unless that day falls on a weekend. People who do not earn enough income to meet IRS income thresholds do not have to file.

The Average Individual Tax Return

In 2008, 142.5 million people filed individual federal returns, totaling $1 trillion. The statistical average of those two figures suggests that the average tax paid per return was slightly more than $70,000. Fortunately, because the top 5 percent of taxpayers account for 60 percent of federal income tax collected, the average tax was actually $11,379.

The Average Individual Taxpayer

The IRS offers interesting statistics about individual taxpayers’ returns. More than two-thirds of all taxpayers take the standard deduction instead of itemizing. More than one-half of taxpayers hire a professional tax preparer. Slightly more than three-fourths take advantage of E-filing. This paints a picture of a person without a lot of deductions who is not confident enough to prepare a tax return, and either owns or knows someone who owns a computer.

Other Federal Income Tax Returns

All businesses and non-profit organizations are required to file an annual tax return. That includes those who had no profits. Data necessary to compute reliable averages is not currently available.

About the Author

Joyce Rouse began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing specialties include continuing medical education programs and advertising copy. Rouse's work has appeared in various online publications. She has attended Northeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she studied history.

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