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Dividend And Capital Gains Taxes Hit Elderly Hardest

Posted by Brian Garst on July 16, 2010

Two recent posts at the Tax Foundation’s Tax Policy Blog highlight IRS data showing the impact of the taxes on dividends and capital gains.

…[T]the data sheds light on how seniors will be impacted if the current 15 percent tax rate on dividend income is allowed to expire at the end of 2010 and dividends revert to being taxed at the personal income tax rate, which could go as high as 39.6 percent.

…While 19 percent of all returns reported dividend income, 42 percent of taxpayers over 65 reported dividend income.

…The lion’s share of dividend income – 48 percent – is earned by those over 65…

…[W]hile 6 percent of all tax returns reported some capital gains income, 13 percent of taxpayers over age 65 reported capital gains income. Indeed, one-third of all taxpayers reporting capital gains income are over age 65 and they earn 30 percent of all capital gains income. Capital gains income comprises 12 percent of their total adjusted gross income.

…[C]apital gains income is not concentrated solely on the over 65 set. Indeed, 40 percent of taxpayers reporting capital gains income are between the ages of 45 and 65 – those building up to retirement – and they earn nearly half of all capital gains income.

These statistics help put a face on taxpayers who will be impacted by higher taxes on capital gains income. Something lawmakers should consider as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts nears at the end of 2010.

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