Tax filing scramble amid reports rich pay less

Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:01pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Taxpayers scrambled to meet Monday's deadline for filing income tax returns amid reports that the richest of the rich are paying less to the Internal Revenue Service.

Submitting online from the comfort of home or at the U.S. Post Office, taxpayers turned over the complicated forms that tally up either the joyful news that a refund is due or painful reality that even more money is due.

Watchdog groups, meanwhile, found the richest Americans are paying a smaller share of the pot than in years past. According to 2008 IRS data analyzed by the Tax Foundation, the top 1 percent of earners paid 38 percent of all federal individual income taxes, a decline from 2007 when the same group paid more than 40 percent.

Citizens for Tax Justice, which looks at all taxes paid including federal, state and local taxes, said that in 2010 the top 1 percent of earners will pay 21.5 percent of taxes. The group said that top 1 percent earned just over 20 percent of total income.

"It doesn't make things any easier for a working stiff like me," said David Desmarais, 37, of Stanford, Connecticut, a hotel desk clerk who mailed his tax return at the enormous main post office in New York City. "I work really hard to earn what I do, so tax day is never fun."

Another taxpayer, bank teller Linda Blanchard, 28, said wealthier Americans do not feel same sting she does seeing her paycheck eaten away by tax dollars.

"It still hurts to be doing this. I'm sure they are able to part with that money easier," said Blanchard, who lives in suburban Harrison, New York.

From everyday taxpayers to the most famous celebrities, Tax Day forces all Americans to look back at how their life has added up over the previous year.

President Barack Obama and wife Michelle made significantly less money last year than in 2009, reporting an adjusted gross income of $1,728,096 and paying federal taxes of $435,770, according to their joint tax return. That's down from income of $5,505,409 in 2009.   Continued...

<p>A woman walks out of an Internal Revenue Service office in New York April 18, 2011.The Internal Revenue Service had announced that taxpayers have until April 18, 2011 to file their 2010 returns and pay their tax bills because of a holiday on April 15. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>