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State of California Franchise Tax Board

State Reports on Median Income for 2008

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Public Affairs Office
Brenda Voet

For Immediate Release


Mixed results as median incomes rise while total income falls

Sacramento –The statewide median income for all personal income tax returns rose slightly to $35,923 (0.78 percent over 2007), while the median income listed on joint returns grew to $68,981 (0.27 percent over 2007) according to statistics released today by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

The four Bay Area counties of Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties have led California for 37 years in reported highest median incomes.

“Median income” is the point where one-half of the tax returns are above and one-half are below the midpoint of the range of values. Median income represents the amount reported by a typical California individual or couple.

California taxpayers filed 15.53 million 2008 state income tax returns reporting $1.113 trillion, a 7.2 percent decrease over 2007 figures. Adjusted gross income is a figure taken from tax returns that reports total income after specific tax deductions are subtracted.

Marin County had the highest median income for joint returns at $118,704, a decrease of 3.85 percent over 2007. San Mateo County ranked second with $100,165, Santa Clara County ranked third with $100,077, Contra Costa County ranked fourth with $90,956, and Alameda County ranked fifth with $88,138.

Los Angeles County taxpayers filed 25.5 percent of all 2008 income tax returns in California. They reported median incomes of $31,679 for all returns, and $59,950 for joint returns, ranking 36th and 28th, respectively for all counties. The largest percentage gain in median income for all counties was 5.36 percent, reported in Colusa County. The largest increase in joint filings was also in Colusa County with a 4.55 percent increase.

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