CBO examined how the benefits from major tax expenditures in the individual income tax and payroll tax systems were distributed among households in different income groups in 2019.
Distribution of Federal Taxes
In 2018, average household income after accounting for means-tested transfers and federal taxes was $37,700 among households in the lowest quintile and $243,900 among households in the highest quintile.
In 2017, average household income before accounting for means-tested transfers and federal taxes was $21,300 for the lowest quintile and $309,400 for the highest quintile. After transfers and taxes, those averages were $35,900 and $229,700.
This report projects the distributions of household income, means-tested transfers, and federal taxes under current law in 2021 and compares them with the actual distributions in 2016.
CBO analyzes the distribution of most federal spending—including transfers such as Social Security benefits—and almost all federal revenues among U.S. households in 2006. Results are provided by type of household and by income group.