Many wealthy US taxpayers still paying less

The number of rich Americans able to avoid all federal income tax has dropped significantly, but 13 of every 1,000 still pay a smaller percentage than an average middle-income family. On returns filed in 1985, according to a study by the United States Treasury Department, 325 couples and individuals with incomes over $200,000 paid no tax. That was one of every 1,000 people at that income level. The figure dropped from 579 the previous year.

The number of upper-income people who paid no tax or less than that paid by the average wage-earner dropped slightly, to 3,930, on 1985 returns - about 13 of every 1,000 people at that income level who filed returns.

Treasury says a two-earner family of four with $40,000 income and average deductions paid 12 percent to the government on returns filed in 1985. A typical single person earning $30,000 paid 12 percent.

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