The top 1% of individual taxpayers saw their share of total income rise by almost one percentage point from 2014 to 2015, the result of a sharp increase in the dividend income from Canadian corporations, Statistics Canada announced on Wednesday.
The average total income for the top 1% of Canadian tax filers came in at $529,600 in 2015, a 12.2% increase from 2014. In contrast, the real average income of all tax filers rose by by 2.6% to $47,100 in 2015, from $45,900 in 2014.
On the strength of this double-digit increase in average income, the share of total income for the top 1% also surged to 11.2% in 2015 from 10.3% in 2014. Although the share of total income for the country’s top tax filers grew dramatically in 2015, it is still below their peak share of 12.1%, which was recorded in 2006.
Female tax filers continued to increase their representation at the top of the income distribution, StatsCan says. Women accounted for 23.2% of the top 1% of tax filers in 2015, up from 21.7% in 2014.
To be in the top 1% in 2015, a tax filer must have earned a total income of at least $234,700.
Overall, the median total income of all filers was $33,400 in 2015.
The jump in average income, and in share of total income, for the top 1% was largely due to “a sharp increase in the dividend income from Canadian corporations,” StatsCan says in a statement.
In 2015, the top 1% received an average of $102,300 in dividend income, up from $66,700 in 2014.
On average, the top 1% receive about 40% of total dividend income from Canadian corporations, StatsCan says. In addition, dividends rank second only to employment income as the top source of income for the top 1%.
In terms of the geographic distribution of Canada’s top tax filers, Ontario and British Columbia saw the strongest year over year gains in the ranks of top 1% in 2015. Ontario gained nearly 4,000 top filers, up to 111,145 during the year; B.C. saw its population of one percenters rise by 1,635 to 31,495.
Alberta was the only province to suffer a substantial decline in top filers, with the population declining by 3,390 to 65,185 in 2015.
While the 1% of tax filers captured a greater share of total income in 2015, they also paid an even bigger portion of tax. StatsCan reports that the top 1% accounted for 22.2% of total income taxes paid, up from 20.5% in 2014. On average, they paid $183,000 in income tax, which was up 13.5% from 2014.
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