- Associated Press - Sunday, December 7, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Reported income by all North Dakotans has more than doubled to a record $30.4 billion since the infancy of the state’s oil boom in 2006, tax return filings show.

Tax Department figures released to The Associated Press show the number of taxpayers in the state has jumped 37 percent since the state’s oil bonanza began, from 339,000 in 2006 to 466,000 in 2013. Just over 440,000 tax returns were filed in 2012.

Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said the increase in income and the number of taxpayers contributes heavily to the state’s robust economy.

“More people are buying more things with that type of income,” he said. “It has an effect on sales tax and the property tax base.”

While the total adjusted gross income has jumped a whopping 108 percent since $14.6 billion was reported in 2006, the average adjusted gross income for individuals dropped from $74,221 in 2012 to $71,538 last year. That’s still far above the average adjusted gross income on 2006 returns, which was about $43,300.

Rauschenberger attributed the dip in part to the more than 26,000 new filings over the previous year, which slightly brought down the average.

As for the millionaire list, the number of North Dakotans reporting incomes of more than seven figures in 2013 was pegged at 1,041, down from 1,126 in 2012. In 2006, 339 so-called income millionaires reported incomes of more than $1 million, records show.

That drop was due to the wealthier residents taking advantage of tax cuts that expired the year prior.

“A lot of people moved income in 2012,” Rauschenberger said.

Reported million-dollar incomes come largely from royalties paid to mineral owners by oil companies in North Dakota’s 17 oil-producing counties, and “not from W-2 wages,” Rauschenberger said.

Historically, more than half of the oil royalties earned in those counties are paid to mineral owners who live outside of North Dakota and are not reported to the state for tax purposes, he said.

Kevin Iverson, manager of the census office at the state Commerce Department, said most of North Dakota is benefiting from the state’s strong economy.

“There are some areas out there that aren’t doing so great, but by and large, we’re doing OK,” Iverson said. “And we’re certainly doing better that we use to.”

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