It’s part of an effort by the Obama Administration to promote the Buffett Rule, the principle named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
The rule supports measures to ensure that anyone making over a million dollars a year pays a minimum effective tax rate of at least 30 percent.
On the White House website, Americans can input their annual income and federal income tax paid. The “Buffett Rule Calculator” will then tell you the percentage of millionaires who get taxed at a lower rate, for both income and payroll (Social Security and Medicare) taxes.
For example, a household that earned $100,000 and paid $15,000 in income tax is hit with an effective rate of 21 percent. Meanwhile, the calculator reports that 48,700 millionaires paid a lower effective tax rate than this household in 2009.
“Under the current U.S. tax system, a number of millionaires pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than a significant proportion of middle class families,” a White House statement reads on the Buffett Rule Calculator web page.
Warren Buffett has famously said he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary, a remark that Democrats have adopted for their tax policy.
The IRS reports that 22,000 households made more than $1 million in 2009 and paid less than 15 percent of their income in income taxes — and 1,470 managed to pay no federal income taxes on their million-plus-dollar incomes, according to the IRS.
The very wealthiest American households are paying nearly the lowest tax rate in 50 years. Some are paying just half of the federal income tax that top income earners paid in 1960.
Meanwhile, the average tax rate for middle class families has barely budged, the administration said. The middle 20 percent of households paid 14 percent of their incomes in 1960, and 16 percent in 2010.