Shocker! Most Americans Say Federal Taxes Are Too High
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The Fiscal Times
April 14, 2014

The majority of Americans say their federal taxes are too high — with wealthier people especially unhappy with their tax bills this year.

A new Gallup poll released just ahead of tax day shows 52 percent of respondents believe they pay too much in federal taxes. Meanwhile 42 percent say the amount they pay is “about right.”

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Higher earners tended to be more dissatisfied with their tax bills, with some 61 percent of people taking home $75,000 per year or higher saying they believe their taxes are too high. That’s compared to just 49 percent of those earning less than $30,000 who said their taxes were too high.

The amount of people dissatisfied with their taxes is 6 percentage points higher than it was two years ago, ahead of the fiscal cliff deal that Congress passed at the end of 2012.

The Tax Policy Center estimated that because of the deal, which included the expiration of the payroll tax and a spate of new hikes, about 77 percent of Americans saw their taxes increase in 2013 — with higher earners seeing the biggest bump in their tax bills.

The Tax Policy Center estimated that those making less than $10,000 a year paid an average $68 more in federal taxes, while those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 saw an $822 jump. Wealthy filers with incomes in excess of $1 million paid an extra $170,341, on average.

Still the percentage of people unhappy about their tax bills is well below the staggering 69 percent in 2000. And the percentage of people who say their federal tax burden is “fair” — now at 54 percent — has fallen from a peak of 64 percent in 2003.

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“The lower percentage since 2003 who say their taxes are too high most likely reflects the effect of the 2001 and 2003 income tax cuts passed during George W. Bush's administration,” Gallup explained. “Prior to Bush's presidency, as many as 69 percent of Americans felt their taxes were too high, while as little as a quarter felt they were about right.”

 

Unsurprisingly, the poll also revealed that political affiliation plays a large role in how Americans feel about their taxes. Some 57 percent of Republicans said their taxes were too high compared to 37 percent of Democrats.

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Washington Correspondent Brianna Ehley, based in D.C., covers Congress, government agencies and spending issues, health care, and tax and economic policy for The Fiscal Times.