America’s top taxpayers are carrying a larger share of the nation’s income tax burden than at any time in modern economic times, say congressional economists.

The latest data from the Internal Revenue Service show the top one per cent of taxpayers are paying 40.4 percent of all personal income taxes, its highest level since IRS began compiling comparable data in 1986. Conversely, the share of the bottom half of taxpayers has fallen to 2.9 percent, its lowest level since the same year.

The top five percent of tax filers now shoulder 60.6 percent of all federal personal income taxes, and the top ten percent 71.2 percent – also new highs in tax proportions.

“Contrary to the rhetoric, America’s wealthy already bear a modern record high share of the federal tax burden, while those who are still working their way up the economic ladder are paying less and less,” said U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady, (R-TX) the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee.  “These hard numbers undermine attempts by the White House and Congress to justify heaping new taxes on professionals and small businesses to pay for their massive new government run health care plan.”

Countering a common White House claim about the “wealthy one percent,” data shows the income share of the wealthiest one percent of Americans increased more under President Bill Clinton than under President George W. Bush. The top tax filers share of adjusted gross income increased nearly seven percentage points between 1992 and 2000 (14.2 to 20.8 percent), while growing three times slower during the Bush years – 20.8 to 22.8 percent from years 2000 to 2007.

“These data prove the wealthy one percent prospered under President Clinton, but paid more of America ’s income tax burden under President Bush,” notes Brady.

The analysis was released today by U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady, ranking House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, based on new IRS data for the 2007 tax year.