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5 surprising things Americans think about taxes

How do taxpayers really feel about cheating, the inconvenience of filing annual returns or how much Uncle Sam charges?

By MSN Money staff Apr 12, 2014 12:36PM

People with paperwork (© Thinkstock Images/Comstock Images/Getty Images)By Marine Cole, The Fiscal Times

The Fiscal Times on MSN MoneyThe April 15 deadline is here, 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.

More Americans are tolerant of 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.

A majority of Americans don't hate 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.

Most Americans don't see taxes as a top priority for 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.

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.

More 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.

More from The Fiscal Times


Apr 14, 2014 8:47AM
"Most Americans believe they pay the right amount of taxes"

I've got news for you MSN Money, 45% is not most. That considered a minority.
Apr 14, 2014 8:53AM

"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,


The share of people who think their taxes are too high is similar at 50 percent,"

isn't MOST more then half?  it would seem more people still believe their taxes are too high.  Also, if I paid no or next to no taxes I would probably think they are about right too.

Apr 14, 2014 7:56AM

Taxes on wages (in any form – flat or progressive) are the greatest evil of our American Republic. When government is free to steal from you, there are no limits to waste and abuse in government. If a person chooses to work extra hours or two jobs in order to better provide for themselves or their family, they should not be penalized, but that is what happens. The more you make by working harder and longer, the more money is stolen from you, and given to those who spend their lives living off the hard work of others.

The revenue the government needs to provide legitimate constitutional services should be obtained primarily from a national sales tax instead of a tax on wages. All would pay based on consumption, the more you spend the more you pay. The more luxury you surround yourself with, the more you pay. Your choice. A national sales tax system would capture money spent by criminals and by illegal aliens who currently pay near zero in taxes. There would of course need to be exemptions: Cars (already have a federal excise tax) Primary Residence/Rental Properties (vacation homes would be subject to tax/rental profit would be taxed) Fresh Food (Preprocessed foods and prepared meals would be taxed – only fresh/fresh frozen/canned goods would be exempt) Insurance Premiums, Health Care & Certified Education.

Adding another layer of tax to a business would not be fair. Businesses would need to be compensated by keeping a portion of the tax to cover the expense of collection and reporting. A percentage of .20 to .05 would be fair.

Apr 15, 2014 10:44AM
The middle class carry the heaviest burden in most cases, and probably worry the most about everything. 1. Unemployment is high because of taxes! I'm sure corporate greed plays a part in this as well. 2. You will never own your home because of taxes. Think about this, you payoff your home but if you don't pay those taxes the government will be happy to take that from you too. 3. Less taxes equal more spending, and therefore higher employment levels, and then the government can collect taxes from those that can also now work so that more people are paying taxes instead of squeezing out those few that are working. 4. People on welfare should have show that they are looking for work too.
Apr 15, 2014 3:09PM
Taxes are only due for those of us that produce enough to pay for the almost 50% that pay nothing and even get a refund. We don't even get a thank you card, just always told we do not pay our fair share.

Here are the taxes I paid today - federal income taxes ($18,000), New York state taxes ($3,500), also a "penalty" by not paying more than 90% of my taxes prior to tax day (BS tax)…. OH YEAH, did I forget to mention the taxes I pay throughout the year? Sales tax…. health insurance ($350/month from Freelancers Union)… car insurance ($25/month from Insurance Panda)….  (I view them as taxes because the govt forces them on us)… there even was a $100 fee to renew my drivers license! (I call this the “getting older” tax). I’m sure I’m missing some!

I’m looking out the window now from my building on 28th Street in Manhattan at the projects (public housing).  I pay $3000/month to live here.  They live here for free.  I would expect at least a THANK YOU from them… you know, cause I pay for them to live in the same area as me.  But, the women will probably just bump into me on the streets and yell at me to watch where I’m going.  The men will probably scream sexist/racist things at me as a walk by.  Ahhh, America!
Apr 15, 2014 1:18PM

I have been a voice in the wilderness for about two decades, and now, more and more people are getting on board;

My concept was, and is, a pure Flat tax. A set percentage, (probably 5% would be plenty,) of EVERY DOLLAR SPENT, by everyone, every time, everywhere. No exceptions. No exclusions. Spend more, pay more, spend less, pay less.  Period. Full stop.

Apr 15, 2014 6:35PM
about 45% don't pay taxes so of course they feel good about the amount they owe.  My husband and I paid 60.3% after we added up all the government fees and taxes we paid this year.  I certainly do not feel this is fair!!
Jun 9, 2014 3:09PM
Should the "I refuse to work" crowd pay income tax on their ill-gotten welfare and food stamps? Should retirees pay income tax on their already paid for social security benefits? What do you think is "fair"?
Apr 15, 2014 8:04PM
you can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time but in this day and age, if you have enough money you can fool enough people to do whatever you wish all of the time.
Apr 15, 2014 3:37PM
So many rocket scientists proud of their understanding of 50%!!  Probably not too strong in math though.
Jun 12, 2014 3:16AM
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