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Most Americans Feel They Pay More Taxes Than Trump

Would give up deductions for a simpler tax system


If you sent the IRS a check this year, you may agree with a recent Harris Interactive® poll showing that 59 percent of Americans believe they pay more federal income tax as a percentage of income than billionaire Donald Trump.

Commissioned by the Tax Foundation advocacy group, the poll also showed that a majority of U.S. adults believe federal taxes are too high and complex, and support tax simplification—even if it means giving up some deductions.

The survey questioned respondents about the perceived complexity of federal income taxes and filing returns. An overwhelming 81 percent of U.S. adults believe the federal income tax is somewhat or very complex, and 70 percent said they either “hated” or “disliked” doing their income taxes—a 5-percentage point increase since 2001 and well above 1990. An overwhelming 77 percent said the federal tax code "needs major changes" or "needs to be completely overhauled."

Previous polls show the number-one reason for tax complexity is the number of deductions and tax credits, and 54 percent of respondents in the 2005 survey said they would be willing to give up some deductions to make the tax system simpler.

Surprisingly, those most willing to trade deductions away for simplicity are the same ones likely to benefit from deductions: 59 percent of married respondents, 59 percent of those over age 45, and an overwhelming 69 percent of those with incomes over $75,000 say they are willing to abandon some deductions for a simpler tax code.

In 1947, the Gallup Poll began asking Americans a famous tax question about whether they consider the amount of federal income tax they pay as too high, about right or too low. The question has since become a standard barometer of tax satisfaction. This year, 55 percent say the amount of federal income tax they pay is too high. This represents an increase of 5 percentage points since 2004, but is still below the average response since 1947 of 58 percent.

Those significantly more likely to say their federal tax bill is too high are married couples (58 percent) and those between the ages of 45-54 (64 percent).

Jumping to the defense of the current tax system, the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Analysis claims the U.S. individual income tax is "highly progressive," with a small group of higher-income taxpayers paying most of the individual income taxes each year. See: Who Pays the Most Income Tax?

Complete results of the poll can be viewed at: http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxsurvey.html

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