Growth fastest among wealthiest taxpayers in southwest Ohio

Wealthy taxpayers are the fastest-growing income group in the Miami Valley and the state, and locally the growth in their earnings far outpaces other income classes, according to this newspaper’s analysis of state tax data.

In tax year 2016, the state of Ohio received about 711,200 tax returns from taxpayers in Butler, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Warren counties.

Most tax filers (about 65 percent) reported earnings of $60,000 or less. The highest earning group — incomes of more than $200,000 — accounted for about 3.5 percent of local returns.

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The state received 24,862 returns from the region reporting earnings of more than $200,000, which was up 4.6 percent from the previous year, this newspaper found.

That compares to 1.7 percent growth of tax filers earning $25,000 and under, and 3.8 percent growth of those earning $40,000 to $60,000.

Since 2010, after the economy crashed, the number of local tax returns reporting incomes of $200,000 has increased about 66 percent, the data show.

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For the lower income categories, the growth in returns was less than 5 percent between 2010 and 2016.

The growth is not surprising, considering that the region is home to many high-paying jobs in high-demand industries, like aerospace, advanced manufacturing and logistics and distribution, said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition.

GE now has double the payroll it originally projected, Verso moved its headquarters to Miami Twp. from Tennessee and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center has added about 100 jobs per year between 2000 and 2015, Hoagland said.

“Those are very well-paying jobs,” he said.

The highest earners also have seen the strongest growth in their adjusted gross incomes, this newspaper found.

Taxpayers earning more than $200,000 saw their average gross adjusted incomes grow 1.7 percent between 2015 and 2016, the data show.

Taxpayers earning $5,000 to $25,000 saw 0.5 percent income growth in that time. No other income class saw more than 0.1 percent growth between 2015 and 2016.

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There is some movement between income groups, meaning earners climb into higher income classes as their salaries and other earnings increases, said Zach Schiller, research director at liberal-leaning Policy Matters Ohio.

But inflation — the rising costs of goods and services —likely wipes out modest or small income gains from year to year, he said.

Leading the state with wealthy taxpayers was Delaware County (11.3 percent of returns with $200,000 plus), which is home to the upscale Polaris mixed-use development, north of Columbus. Last was Morgan County (0.5 percent of high-income returns).

About 7.4 percent of tax filers in Warren County had incomes in excess of $200,000, ranking third out of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Greene County ranked 10th in Ohio, with 3.9 percent of returns reporting incomes north of that high-dollar mark.

Butler County was 12th (3.6 percent of returns), Montgomery County was 23rd and Miami County was 24th (both 2.5 percent).

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