Dossier: You Pay, They Play

The top 1 percent of U.S. households received an average income-tax cut of approximately $40,990 in 2004, boosting their after-tax income by 5.3 percent … The middle 20 percent of households received an average tax cut of $980, boosting their after-tax income by 2 percent … Including corporate tax cuts, the top 1 percent of households in 2004 received one-third of all tax cuts enacted under George W. Bush, garnering an average cut 70 times greater than that of the middle 20 percent of households … One year earlier, the average tax cut for the middle 20 percent of tax filers was $827 … George W. and Laura Bush's personal cut that year was $30,858 … From 2000 to 2003, the share of the total tax burden borne by states and localities increased by 15 percent … In 2002, the bottom-earning 20 percent of households paid 11.4 percent of their income in state and local taxes, compared with 5.2 percent of the income of the top 1 percent … Between 2002 and 2004, state budget gaps forcing tax increases and service cuts totaled approximately $200 billion … During those same years, Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent totaled $197.3 billion … In 2003, 252 Fortune 500 companies shielded two-thirds of all profits from state corporate income taxes … Thirty-five of those companies paid no state income taxes at all that year … In 1952, federal corporate income-tax receipts constituted 6.1 percent of the total gross domestic product … In 2004, they made up less than 1.7 percent of the GDP … In 2003, 275 Fortune 500 companies enjoyed an average effective federal income-tax rate of 17.2 percent … The official U.S. corporate income-tax rate is 35 percent … Forty-six of those 275 companies paid no federal income tax at all … Corporate offshore tax sheltering costs the U.S. Treasury an estimated $30 billion to $70 billion annually … Enron created 881 foreign subsidiaries, including 692 in the Caymans … At the official rate, Enron should have paid $1.1 billion in federal taxes on reported profits between 1996 and 2001 … It actually paid $63 million … Between 1988 and 2002, the total number of Internal Revenue Service auditors decreased by 30 percent … Between 1988 and 1999, audit rates for the poor increased by 33 percent, but declined by 90 percent for those making $100,000 or more … From 1997 to 2002, 79 percent of all known cases of offshore tax evasion were not pursued due to lack of IRS resources … In 2002, for every audit of a taxpayer making $100,000 or more, five taxpayers earning below $16,500 were audited … The tax returns of one in every 47 of the working poor were audited that year, compared with one in every 145 of those making $100,000 or more.