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Less than a Tenth or More than Four Fifths?

Posted By Scott Shane On January 2, 2012 @ 8:00 am In Taxes | 3 Comments

Should we worry about the number of businesses that would affected by a tax increase or the amount of small business income that would be subject to the tax?

It’s an important question. The share of small businesses and the fraction of small business income hit by tax increases are usually very different numbers.

The figure below presents data from the U.S. Treasury [1], on the share of businesses and business income belonging to companies at different annual income levels. The data show that less than one percent of businesses generate between $5 million and $10 million in annual earnings. However, these businesses account for 20 percent of small business income.

This means, of course, that concentrating tax increases only on the highest earning businesses affects relatively few companies. However, it impacts a lot of business income. For instance, numbers from the U.S. Treasury show that a tax increase on businesses earning more than $1 million per year would affect less than 7 percent of small companies but would hit 81 percent of small business income.

Cumulative Share of Small Business Income and Number of Small Businesses by Business’s Total Income:

Small business income hit by tax increase [2]

Source: Created from data from the Office of Tax Analysis, U.S. Department of Treasury


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[1] data from the U.S. Treasury: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/tax-analysis/Documents/OTA-T2011-04-Small-Business-Methodology-Aug-8-2011.pdf

[2] Image: http://smallbiztrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/taxes-e1324071850655.png