Nearly Half of Americans Say Their Taxes Are Too High, Lowest Level Since 1956

It is tax day, a day many Americans dread as they turn over their IRS paperwork, and sometimes a check, to the federal government. A new survey shows that 45% of Americans believe their tax burden is too high, the lowest level since 1956.

The other side of the tax coin, when it comes to the opinion about what Americans pay, is the 48% who think their taxes are fair or “about right” as Gallup, which collected the data, terms it.

Gallup experts wrote, “For the second year in a row, a record-low 45% of Americans say the amount of federal income tax they pay is too high, and 48% say it is about right. Gallup first asked this question in 1956 and from then until 2001, with a couple of exceptions, majorities consistently said their taxes were too high. Since then — after three rounds of tax cuts in 2001, 2003 and 2017 — closer to 50% have been content with what they pay.”

Looked at another way, Gallup asked whether people thought what they paid was fair. The answer, “A 57% majority of U.S. adults regard the income tax they have to pay as fair, while 39% think it is unfair.” Views of state taxes may be different from those of federal taxes. Seven states have no income tax at all.

Americans still believe that the rich pay too little. “Majorities of Americans continue to think that upper-income people (62%) and corporations (69%) pay too little in taxes, but views are mixed about the tax burden of lower- and middle-income people.” Some 48% believe say middle-income people pay their fair share, while 43% say “they pay too much.” Also, 48% told Gallup that lower-income people pay too much. And 38% think they pay their fair share.

The results of the Gallup poll must be surprising to many. How often do people say, “I am happy with my tax bill”? Leaving aside views of federal taxes, American states where people are paying the highest taxes may view things differently.


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