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Number of millionaires by income continues to grow in N.D., but oil slump could slow trend

BISMARCK - North Dakota added 79 millionaires to its tax rolls based on annual income last year, but a state Tax Department official said the number could drop this year as depressed crude prices cut into oil production and royalty payments to mi...

BISMARCK – North Dakota added 79 millionaires to its tax rolls based on annual income last year, but a state Tax Department official said the number could drop this year as depressed crude prices cut into oil production and royalty payments to mineral rights owners.

The number of resident tax returns reporting $1 million or more in adjusted gross income climbed by 7.6 percent to 1,120 in tax year 2014, up from 1,041 on 2013 returns. The state had 406 “income millionaires” in 2009, according to tax department figures.

That’s not a per-individual count of millionaires, because the numbers reflect all individual income tax return types – those filing individually, married filing jointly and married filing separately, Deputy Tax Commissioner Joe Morrissette said.

The average adjusted gross income reported on resident returns jumped by 2.5 percent to $73,359 last year, up from $71,538 the previous year. Since 2009, average adjusted gross income has climbed by 40 percent, or more than $21,000, according to figures from tax department research director Kathryn Strombeck.

Last year’s income growth in part reflected strong oil prices and production that have since waned.

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“In 2014, we really hadn’t seen too much of a slowdown,” Morrissette said.

The benchmark price of West Texas Intermediate crude stayed above $90 a barrel for the first nine months of 2014 but had dropped below $50 by the second week in January and was hovering around $42 on Thursday morning. North Dakota’s August oil production was down more than 40,000 barrels a day from December’s record high of more than 1.2 million barrels daily.

“This is from 2014 tax year, so it wouldn’t be surprising if that number (of income millionaires) might go down for the 2015 tax year,” Morrissette said.

Total adjusted gross income reported in the state jumped by 3.2 percent to more than $31.4 billion in 2014 and has nearly doubled since 2009’s $17.1 billion.

The total number of returns also reached an all-time high of 486,311 last year, up more than 20,000 from 2013.

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