Feel like you are the only one with a tax debt problem? Ever wonder where in the US more people have the tax debt issues? Is this a problem of the rich or is the problem of incurring Tax Debt affecting everyone?
A recent 2010-2011 analysis of tax liens from across the U.S. found that New York City, which happens to have some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the nation, was actually the country’s leading geographic area for federal tax liens. According to the data,New York City accounts for nine, or 18 percent, of the top 50 U.S. zip codes with the most liens recorded over the past 12 months ending in September.
Is this a problem of the rich of New York trying to skirt their fare share payments to the IRS? The economy has hit everyone so perhaps this is not the full story. Taking a harder look, four of theNew York City zip codes include some of Manhattan’s most affluent neighborhoods, including the Upper West Side (10025 and 10023), Chelsea(10011), and Murray Hill (10016), but the remaining five New York City zip codes are in more typically minority and working-class areas of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. To really understand how much richer these neighborhoods are, if you break down the differences in the New York Zip Code demographics by using recent U.S. Census data, those Manhattan’s four zip code tax debtors earned a whopping 250 percent more than those in the city’s less affluent areas. Of course with more income, comes the potential for bigger tax burden and the average IRS debt of Manhattan’s wealthier tax debtors is much higher than the amount owed by their working-class neighbors. It turns out the tax debt of the wealthy NYC zip codes averages $58,592 or about 86 times more than the boroughs. So, while the rich owe a lot more per capita the problem of owing tax debt in the NYC area is affecting both the rich and working class.
What about the rest of the country? Virtually all of the remaining nationwide zip codes in the top 50 are located in minority and economically depressed neighborhoods. Perhaps not coincidentally six of these neighborhoods are in areas hit hard by the economy including Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and Detroit all of which have high unemployment, short sales and foreclosures which can lead to high levels of tax debt.
All that said, New Yorkhas been a high ranking tax debtors location for some time but this may be due to population density. Taking a second analysis of prior year nationwide tax liens, this time from July 2009 to July 2010, reveals that at that time New York City accounted for 16, or 32 percent, of the top 50 U.S. zip codes with the most tax liens and six of those New York zip codes were located in Manhattan.
Why did the NYC area drop in 2010-2011 to just 18 percent from a 2009-2010 amount of 32 percent? Seems the nationwide recession has caused more working-class Americans to lack the means to pay their tax debts. The problem is more widespread, so perhaps the number of individuals affected in New York is simply a smaller percentage to the growing nationwide issue.
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