5 Surprising Things Americans Think About Taxes
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The Fiscal Times
April 9, 2014

You have less than a week to file your taxes before the April 15 deadline, but whether you have already postmarked your envelope or you’re waiting until the last minute, you may be surprised by Americans’ opinion on taxes. From opinions on cheating to taxing lower-income people more, here are five surprising thoughts Americans have on taxes.

1) Americans tolerate tax cheating. Fudging the numbers “a little here and there,” or “as much as possible,” is fine, according to 12 percent of those recently surveyed by the Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board. The trend is on the rise, as only 9 percent of Americans thought it was acceptable to cheat on income taxes back five years ago.

2) Americans don’t mind doing their taxes. The pain of having to file taxes may be the top conversation starter these days, but most Americans actually don’t mind doing their taxes; some even like it, according to a Survey Monkey poll. About 12 percent of Americans like filing their returns, while 44 percent have neutral feelings about filing their taxes, the poll found.

3) Americans don’t see taxes and tax reform as a top priority problem in Washington. While Congress is having heated discussions on Rep. Paul Ryan’s final budget proposal, only one percent of Americans think that taxes represent the most important problem facing the nation, far behind unemployment and dissatisfaction with the government, according to a Gallup’s March poll.

Related: 7 Last-Minute Tips for Tax Procrastinators

4) Most Americans believe they pay the right amount of taxes. Roughly 45 percent of people consider the amount of federal income tax they have to pay is just about right, according to a survey by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. The share of people who think their taxes are too high is similar at 50 percent, while up until 10 years ago, more Americans thought their taxes were too high, in some years close to 70 percent.

5) Americans think poor people should pay more taxes. While it’s no secret that most Americans think rich people pay too little in taxes, 2 in 10 think this is also true of lower-income people, according to AEI. This is up from a low 8 percent in 1992 and most of the increase has occurred since the start of the recession in 2008.

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Marine Cole has been covering finance and business for a decade and has written for publications that include The Wall Street Journal, Crain's New York Business, and AdvertisingAge.