Federal Tax Returns: Latest Rankings by County, State and More

Source: Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), Report date: April 11, 2017

For many years, the county with the highest adjusted gross income per federal tax return payer was found in glossy locations such as Teton County, Wyoming, Fairfield County, Connecticut and New York Country, N.Y. But for the latest available tax year – returns filed during 2015 — the top ranking county in the nation according to this count has moved south, to McMullen County, Texas, where its best known feature is Boot Hill Cemetery in Tilden.

Though ranked among smallest of the nation’s 3,000 plus counties in terms of total population, when examined by another factor — the average adjusted gross income of the taxpayers in this very sparsely populated county easily tops the better known spots mentioned above as well as Falls Church City, Virginia, Marin County (Point Reyes Station), California and Pitkin County (Aspen, Colorado).

(Boot Hill Cemetery, established about 1858, gained its name because many of the interred reportedly were buried with “their boots on.”)

TRAC has updated its interactive Taxpayer Returns application with the latest data available from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This unique tool makes it easy to browse through TRAC’s extensive store of information on the constantly shifting types of income going back to 1991 that flow to taxpayers in the fifty states and every one of the more than 3,000 counties.

Average wages and salaries continue to grow more slowly that total income from all sources. While average reported wages and salaries grew by 3.5 percent on returns filed in 2015 as compared with those filed the previous year, the average adjusted grow income (AGI) grew by 6.3 percent. Overtime, the proportion of reported income from wages and salaries has slipped. For returns filed during 2015 wages and salaries made up only 69 percent of reported AGI. For 2014 it was 71 percent. Ten years ago it was 73 percent, while twenty years ago wages and salaries made up 77 percent.

Fewer than two exemptions (1.95) are now being claimed on average on a return – down from over two (2.16) a decade ago. ….