The top one per cent of Canada's 25.5 million tax filers accounted for 10.6 per cent of the nation's total income in 2010, according to Statistics Canada. This number is down from a peak of 12.1 per cent in 2006.
The top one per cent paid 21.2 per cent of all federal and provincial or territorial income taxes in 2010. In 1982, the top one per cent of filers paid 13.4 per cent of federal and provincial or territorial income taxes. This proportion rose steadily to a peak of 23.3 per cent in 2007, before slipping again in 2010. The share of income taxes paid by the rest of all tax filers fell from 86.6 per cent in 1982 to 78.8 per cent in 2010.
Threshold value just over $201,000 for top 1 per cent
In 2010, a tax filer required an annual income of $201,400 to be in the top one per cent. This was 37 per cent higher than the threshold value of $147,500 (adjusted for 2010 dollars) in 1982, when the data series began, said Statistics Canada.
The income gap between the top one per cent and the rest of filers has widened over time. In 1982, the median income of the top one per cent of filers was $191,600. This was seven times higher than the median income of $28,000 for the other 99 per cent of filers.
By 2010, the median income of the top one per cent of filers increased to $283,400, about 10 times higher than the median income of $28,400 for the rest.
The income of top filers was increasingly dependent on their jobs, rather than on investments. In 1982, slightly more than one-half of the total income of men in the top one per cent came from wages and salaries. By 2000, this had increased to 67 per cent.
Proportion of women nearly doubles
The increase among women was more pronounced. In 1982, wages and salaries accounted for 21 per cent of the income of women in the top one per cent. By 2010, this proportion had more than doubled to 50 per cent.
In 2010, the top one per cent of tax filers consisted of 254,700 individuals. Women accounted for 53,200, 21 per cent of the total, almost twice the proportion than in 1982 (11 per cent).
During the same time period, the proportion of men in the top one per cent fell from 89 per cent to 79 per cent.
In 2010, four provinces — Ontario, Alberta, Quebec and British Columbia — accounted for 92 per cent of the 254,700 people in the top one per cent.
Ontario had 110,300, followed by Alberta with 52,200, Quebec at 42,600 and British Columbia with 29,500.
Between 1990 and 2010, Alberta's share of the top one per cent of filers doubled from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, while Ontario's proportion fell from 51 per cent to 43 per cent.
Top filers more likely to stay on top
Over time, the top one per cent of tax filers have become more likely to remain in the group. Among those who were in the top one per cent in 1983, two-thirds (67 per cent) were also in the top one per cent in 1982. By 2010, this one-year measure of high income persistence had risen to 72 per cent.
The five-year persistence also increased. In 1987, close to 44 per cent of the top one per cent filers had also been in the top one per cent five years earlier. This proportion rose to 48 per cent in the early 1990s and to 52.7 per cent in 2010.
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