IRS: 4.7 million made at least $200,000

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FILE -This April 13, 2014 file photo shows the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington. Tuesday, April 15, is the federal tax filing deadline for most Americans. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)
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Close to 5 million tax filers reported adjusted gross income of at least $200,000 in 2011, according to data released Monday by the IRS.

That represents 3.2% of all federal income tax returns.

The vast majority ended up owing U.S. income tax. Roughly 1.8 million paid between 15% and 20% of their income in taxes. Nearly 1.5 million paid between 20% and 25%. And about 900,000 paid more than 25%. Most Americans' effective tax rates are well below 15%.

Not every top-AGI household owed money, however.

Of the high-income returns, 19,563 of them -- or 0.4% -- had no U.S. income tax liability. That's thanks largely to tax deductions, exclusions and credits, all of which combined can eliminate what is owed to Uncle Sam.

Related: What the top 1% pay

But because AGI doesn't cover all income, the 19,563 returns don't reflect all high-income households that owed nothing, said Roberton Williams, a fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

For instance, a high-income household may bring in $500,000 a year, but $400,000 of it comes from tax-exempt income, and therefore is not counted as AGI. And various tax breaks may reduce or eliminate the tax owed on the remaining $100,000.

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