Tags: tax | 400 | income | wealthy

Richest 400 Americans See Income Rebound, But Not to Pre-Recession Levels

By    |   Monday, 13 April 2015 07:00 AM

The wealthiest 400 Americans saw their income rebound from 2008, the year of the financial crisis, through 2012, the latest year included in new IRS data.

But their income still hadn't reached its 2007 record high. The Great Recession ran from December 2007 to June 2009.

Note that the wealthiest 400 are being measured by income, not by net worth as the Forbes 400 is measured. And the income figures are adjusted gross income, which include some deductions, such as retirement plans, rather than gross income.

In any case, average income for the top 400 increased 24 percent to $335.7 million in 2012 from $270.5 million in 2008. That compares with $344.8 million in 2007.

If you take inflation into account, the improvement from 2008 is lower in percentage terms, and the 2012 total stands further behind the 2007 total in percentage terms.

Much of the improvement since 2008 likely stems from stock market gains. The S&P 500 index averaged an annual return of 14.9 percent for 2009-12.

Meanwhile, though government programs to aid the poor receive a lot of public attention, the wealthy aren't exactly neglected by Uncle Sam. There are plenty of tax benefits for them.

The Washington Post lists 10 such breaks. Here are three:
  • The yacht tax deduction. Interest you're paying for a boat is tax-deductible if the boat has sleeping quarters, a kitchen and a toilet. That's because it can then be considered a second home, making mortgage interest payments on it deductible.
  • Rental property. If you own a home that you rent out, you can deduct expenses related to renting it, including repairs, advertising, home-owners association fees and mortgage interest.
  • Tax preparations. "If you have hired an accountant to help you sort through all of these tax breaks to make sure you maximize them, you get to write off that expense, too," write Post reporters Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham.

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The wealthiest 400 Americans saw their income rebound from 2008, the year of the financial crisis, through 2012, the latest year included in new IRS data.
tax, 400, income, wealthy
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2015-00-13
Monday, 13 April 2015 07:00 AM
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