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Is there any good online source for historical federal income tax rates in US comparison? I'll explain the problem: there are may good sources for marginal rates and income brackets, what I am interested in is the source that allows to compare effective (as opposed to marginal) rates and also do that in constant (i.e. inflation-adjusted) dollars and relative to income percentiles. I.e. I'm looking to answer the questions: "How much tax would individual earning equivalent of $80000 today would pay through last 100 years?" or "How much would a person earning median/top 10%/bottom 20% income pay through last 100 years?" I believe all the data to answer this is there, but I didn't find any application/tool that allows to easily manipulate them to answer such questions.

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    " I didn't find any application/tool that allows to easily manipulate them to answer such questions" Excel or Google spreadsheets would let you do this. – Michael Pryor Dec 16 '10 at 18:52
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    I suggest visiting a library and getting up close and personal with Google. Tax structures have changed dramatically in the last 100 years, so its going to be difficult to actually compare taxation historically is a meaningful way. – duffbeer703 Dec 16 '10 at 19:17
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    You're only going to need to go back 97 years. The modern income tax started in 1913. Ironically it was the same year the creature from jekyll island was unleashed (i.e. the FED). – Muro Dec 16 '10 at 19:38
  • @duffbeer703 I kinda know about Google. I can find the data and spend time and write a program that does that by myself, in theory. In practice, I don't have time for that right now, so I wonder if somebody already did it. – StasM Dec 16 '10 at 20:32
  • @Michael that's like somebody asking "how can I read Microsoft Word document" and getting an answer "Use C++ compiler to write a program to parse the format and you're fine". I kind of hoped to get pointers to existing tool, if one exists. It can't be I'm the first one in the world asking such questions. – StasM Dec 16 '10 at 20:34
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"How much tax would individual earning equivalent of $80000 today would pay through last 100 years?"

Do you mean in today's dollars? If so, you don't need to worry about converting to today's dollars. Just calculate how much tax they owe by using the chart you pointed to, or download the excel spreadsheet they provide.

If you mean in actual dollars (not real dollars), then just take your answer, and plug it into this calculator, which takes the consumer price index into effect.

If you would like to calculate this for many different years, follow this procedure.

  1. Download the excel spreadsheet from taxfoundation.org
  2. Add some new columns to calculate the total tax paid in different years using the data, and keyed off a "salary" cell which you can change.
  3. If you want to convert to dollars of that year, plug the result into the CPI calculator (or add the multiplier from the CPI calculator to your spreadsheet and do fun things with it).

I realize this takes a bit of familiarity with spreadsheets and formulas, so I started it for you back to the year 2006 here.

  • Note that this only took me 3 or four minutes. You could do all of the years in probably another half hour. If I get really bored, I'll just end up doing it :P – Michael Pryor Dec 16 '10 at 22:38
  • thanks for doing it :) I hoped it was already existing as application, but looks like it isn't, so maybe I'll invest some time into making some spreadsheet like this – StasM Dec 16 '10 at 23:39

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