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By The Numbers: As D.C. Changes, So Do The People Paying Taxes

The people paying taxes in D.C. offers an insight into how the city is changing.
D.C. Office of Tax Revenue
The people paying taxes in D.C. offers an insight into how the city is changing.

D.C. By The Numbers is a series that uses numbers to highlight and explore exactly how D.C. does — and doesn't — work. Have a number to share? Get in touch.

The last decade has seen dramatic changes in D.C.: Not only has the city added tens of thousands of residents, but entire neighborhoods are being reshaped by large-scale development projects. Those changes have been broadly reflected in the city's wealth, and by extension, the wealth gap.

According to the U.S. Census, the income of a typical D.C. household jumped 23 percent to $66,583 between 2000 and 2012. At the same time, a report from the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute finds that D.C. posts the fourth-highest gap between richest and poorest residents of large U.S. cities. While the poorest 20 percent of D.C. residents make on average under $10,000 per year, the top five percent make over $530,000 per year.

Those trends are evident in something that's very relevant on this April 15: tax filings.

According to the D.C. Chief Financial Officer, there were 64,557 D.C. tax filers making more than $100,000 in 2012. They represented 18.9 percent of the city's 339,807 filers for that year. That was up 46 percent from 2006, when 44,035 residents fell in the $100,000-plus brackets.

Between 2006 and 2012 there were also increases among filers making between $10,000 and $25,000, $50,000 and $75,000 and $75,000 and $100,000, but the increases were more pronounced among the higher brackets: The number of filers between $100,000 and $200,000 jumped 47 percent, the number between $200,000 and $350,000 went up 55 percent and the number making between $350,000 and $500,000 increased 46.5 percent.

During that same time period, the city's population grew by 60,000 residents — about 10 percent — and the per capita income increased by some $15,000 to just under $75,000. The city's median age dropped by almost a year in that time period.

Other data from the CFO shows that while in 2004 filers making more than $100,000 were worth $592 million in tax liabilities, 59 percent of what the city took in that year, in 2013 they were worth $1.2 billion, 73.7 percent of what the city claimed from all filers.

That's not the only change that's evident in tax filings. From 2001 to 2011, the number of single filers increased by over 57,000, a jump of close to 40 percent. Over the same time period, the number of married filers only went up by 10,000, or just shy of 20 percent.

Adjusted Gross Income Returns (2006) Percent (2006) Returns (2012) Percent (2012) Percent Change
Less than or equal to $0 8,513 2.8% 7,137 2.1% -16%
$0-10,000 39,019 12.9% 38,486 11.3% -1.3%
$10,000-25,000 62,660 20.8% 65,603 19.3% 4.6%
$25,000-50,000 84,000 27.8% 81,703 24% -2.7%
$50,000-75,000 41,752 13.8% 51,887 15.3% 24.3%
$75,000-100,000 21,852 7.2% 30,434 9% 39.3%
$100,000-200,000 28,785 9.5% 42,374 12.5% 47.2%
$200,000-350,000 8,943 3% 13,903 4.1% 55.5%
$350,000-500,000 2,453 0.8% 3,593 1.1% 46.5%
$500,000-1,000,000 2,333 0.8% 2,968 0.9% 27.2%
$1,000,000 and above 1,521 0.5% 1,719 0.5% 13%
All Filers 301,831 100% 339,807 100% 12.6%
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