A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Breakdown of Government Revenue


Q: What’s the percentage breakdown of the government’s tax revenue stream?

A: Nearly half of federal revenue came from income taxes on individuals last year, and another one-third came from social insurance taxes, mainly for Social Security.

FULL QUESTION

What percentage of all taxes collected are capital gains tax, corporate taxes, fees & tariffs (such as gas taxes), and personal income (less capital gains taxes)?

FULL ANSWER

A breakdown comes from The White House Office of Management and Budget, which shows that in fiscal 2007 (the 12 months ending last Sept. 30) receipts from individual income taxes accounted for 45.3 percent of the government’s total tax revenues, while receipts from social insurance and retirement taxes made up 33.9 percent and corporate income taxes 14.4 percent. Most of the social insurance and retirement taxes (94 percent of them) are Social Security and Medicare receipts; the category also includes unemployment insurance and Railroad Retirement. Excise taxes, which would include the gasoline tax our reader asked about, made up 2.5 percent of all receipts and 3.9 percent came from other sources. OMB’s "other" category includes estate and gift taxes, and customs duties and fees.

 

Capital gains taxes are included in income tax revenue, and the OMB doesn’t give a breakdown for that. According to a 2002 Congressional Budget Office report, capital gains taxes "normally make up about 4 percent to 7 percent of individual income tax revenues" and are usually 2 percent to 3 percent of total federal tax revenues. The CBO notes that capital gains tax receipts are apt to fluctuate. The vast majority of taxpayers don’t pay them, however: As we said in a previous Ask FactCheck, only 13 percent of income tax returns in 2006 included capital gains income, according to the IRS.

– Emi Kolawole

Sources

The White House Office of Management and Budget. Percentage Composition of Receipts By Source: 1934-2013. Washington: GPO, 2008. [Excel Document]

Woodward, G. Thomas. "Capital Gains Taxes and Federal Revenues." Congressional Budget Office, 9 Oct. 2002.