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Thanks to the stock market crash of 2008, the nation’s 400 highest income taxpayers reported 25% less income in 2009—an average of only $202.4 million each in adjusted gross income each, down from $270.5 million in 2008. The decline was almost entirely due to a drop in the net capital gains they realized.
Nevertheless, the top 400 took a record share of gains in 2009—a stunning 16% of all the net gains reported on 140.5 million individual income tax returns, up from 13% in 2008. In 2009, the 400’s net gains totaled $37 billion, or $92.6 million apiece, down from $61.5 billion in 2008 and a record $91.4 billion in 2007.