November 02, 1999
IRS Issues Summer Statistics of Income Bulletin
WASHINGTON - Pre-tax profits reported on the 4.6
million corporation income tax returns for Tax Year 1996 reached $806.5 billion, according
to statistics released by the Internal Revenue Service. This was 13 percent more than for
1995. Net income without regard to losses increased to $986.8 billion, while net losses
increased to $180.3 billion. Profits of the 8,200 returns of corporations with total
assets of $250 million or more accounted for 80 percent of the total. Income tax before
credits grew 13 percent to $223.7 billion, while tax after credits, the amount payable to
the U.S. Government, grew nine percent to $170.6 billion. These data are included in the
Summer 1999 issue of the quarterly Statistics of Income Bulletin, just published.
A second article on corporations notes that for Tax Year 1995, the 353 U.S.
possessions corporations claimed possessions tax credits totaling $3.1 billion. While the
number of these corporations declined 11 percent from 1993, the last year for which
statistics were compiled, and the credit dropped 33 percent, the U.S. income tax after
credits these corporations reported increased dramatically from $31.7 million to $1.5
billion. Companies operating in Puerto Rico accounted for nearly all of the credit
claimed. Most of the companies were manufacturers, especially of pharmaceuticals.
A third article reports that for 1996, there were 0.3 million qualifying U.S.
taxpayers living or working abroad with $21.1 billion in foreign-earned income. This
income was used to compute the foreign-earned income exclusion from adjusted gross income.
The 1996 amount reflected, in large part, growth in income from Asian sources, especially
from Hong Kong, Singapore, and China. As a result, taxpayers were able to exclude $12.1
billion of income, plus $1.9 billion for certain employer-provided foreign housing costs,
from U.S. taxation. Meanwhile, the foreign-source gross income reported by the 2.1 million
taxpayers in computing foreign tax credits against U.S. income tax grew to $29.1 billion,
with credits increasing to $3.5 billion. Here, also, the growth in income earned in Asian
countries was particularly evident.
Another article reports that the 1997 profits of the nations 19.2 million
nonfarm sole proprietorships grew almost six percent over 1996 to $186.6 billion.
Industry-wise, services remained the largest industrial division, with 34 percent of the
gross receipts and 57 percent of the profits.
A fifth article indicates there were 78,000 Federal estate tax returns filed for
1995 decedents. Gross estate totaled $136.1 billion and the estate tax, $14.3 billion.
Average gross estate was $1.7 million. Investments in corporate stock represented the
largest share of portfolios of both male and female decedents, with bonds, primarily
tax-exempt state and local government obligations, representing the second largest share
of portfolios of women, and real estate, the second largest share of portfolios of men.
Distributable assets amounted to $108.3 billion. Nine percent was bequeathed to charities,
38 percent to surviving spouses and 53 percent to children and other individuals.
A sixth article reviews the status of tax-exempt private activity state and local
government bonds from 1988 through 1995. The volume of these bonds issued during this
period totaled $441.8 billion.
The final article reviews excise taxes repealed or expired in recent years. These
include the crude oil windfall profit tax and environmental taxes, plus most luxury taxes.
Over time, these taxes generated over $90 billion in revenue. Only the luxury tax on
expensive automobiles survives. In Fiscal Year (FY) 1998, these three taxes totaled $570
million, mostly because of the automobile tax. They accounted for about one percent of the
$59.2 billion total in excise taxes collected by the Treasury Department in FY 1998.
The Bulletin also includes historical data on tax collections and refunds, by type
of tax. Income, deduction and tax data are also presented for returns filed by
individuals, corporations and unincorporated businesses, with selected data also presented
for estates. Projections of tax returns to be filed are also included.
The Statistics of Income Bulletin is available from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250- 7954. The annual
subscription is $30 ($37.50 foreign); single issues cost $19 ($23.75 foreign). For more
information about these data, write the Director, Statistics of Income (SOI) Division
OP:RS:S, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 2608, Washington, DC 20013-2608; check the
World Wide Web at http://www.irs.gov; or telephone the
SOI statistical information services office at (202) 874-0410 (by e-mail, [email protected];
by fax (202) 874-0964).
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