Sure, the top 1% may pay the most taxes, but they still don't pay as high of a rate as the middle class, right? Not true. According to the Tax Foundation, the top 1% payed an average rate of 24.01% to the federal government in 2009. That's more than any other income level- nearly 8% greater than the top 5% and an even greater gap for lower incomes. When it comes to regular earned income, (not capital gains) the top 1% pays the highest rate.