Though the tax rate for Americans earning a gross adjusted income of $1 million or more averaged 24.4 percent, up from 23.1 percent in 2008, that’s still lower than the 28.5 percent rate they paid in 2002 when President George W. Bush was in office.

The returns filed in 2009 reflect income from 2008, the deepest depths of the recession and financial crisis, and, under that backdrop, incomes fell sharply.

The vast majority of tax return filers – more than 97 percent – reported incomes of less than $200,000. The average income was $54,283, a drop of more than $3,500, or 6 percent, from 2008. That put the average income at its lowest level since 1997.

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