New York Intelligencer magazine has the article No, the Richest One Percent Don’t Pay 40 Percent of the Taxes.
The Stat is literally true. But it is deeply misleading — so misleading, in fact, that it routinely fools even the people who are citing it into thinking it indicates something other than what it actually means.
This stat is so misleading that the author of this article even misses a good part of the point. If you looked at wealth gain instead of income, you would see that a very healthy portion of wealth gain is never counted as income.
How is wealth gain different from income? When the market value of your assets increases, but you don’t sell those assets, this is called unrealized capital gains. You can borrow against your assets without ever selling them so that the gains would never have to be reported as income. When the Federal Reserve Bank keeps interest rates low, it is cheaper to borrow than it is to pay cash and taxes. If you are clever enough, you can even have the tax laws written to let you deduct the interest from the income that you do have to report.
It also helps when the FED pushes money into the private sector in a way that props up the stock market and real estate market. This vastly increases wealth gain without having to touch income.