They’re U.S. ZIP codes to be coveted. Just 140 exist, places where at least a quarter of tax filers report adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 or more.
Representing a sliver of the nation’s more than 40,000 ZIP codes, they’re situated in Manhattan, suburban Philadelphia, Beverly Hills and even Peoria, Illinois.
As Congress and the president debate a deficit-reducing budget deal, Internal Revenue Service data compiled by Bloomberg shows the greatest concentrations of those most likely to see higher tax rates live in places that voted to return to the White House a man who wants to raise them.
“The irony is that many of these wealthy states also tend to be more Democratic states that favor a more progressive tax code,” said Jim Kessler, a senior vice president and co-founder at Third Way, a Washington-based Democratic policy group. “Republicans are essentially defending tax rates for people who don’t live in their state.”
The debate is at the heart of the negotiations to reach an agreement that would prevent automatic tax increases and spending cuts in January, the so-called fiscal cliff.
President Barack Obama is insisting that before any discussions begin on cutting such entitlement programs as Medicare, Republicans must agree to a tax rate increase on the portion of annual incomes exceeding $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples. He’s called them “millionaires and billionaires who can afford to pay a little more.”
The Bloomberg list of where those people reside is based on tax returns filed in 2009, the most recent publicly available ZIP code-level data available from the IRS. For privacy reasons, the agency suppresses data for ZIP codes with fewer than 250 returns.
An adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more is the top category in the IRS data. Among ZIP codes with at least 250 tax filers, about a third don’t have anyone with an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more.
Manhattan has the most ZIP codes where a third or more of returns have adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 or more, a reflection of the city’s high incomes and cost of living.