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Study: The rich really don't mind high taxes

Wealthy Americans aren't champing at the bit to give more to Uncle Sam. But the richer you are, the more likely you support higher tax rates.

By Money Staff Apr 10, 2014 11:34AM

This post comes from Robert Frank at partner site CNBC.


CNBC on MSN MoneyConventional wisdom says that the rich hate paying taxes. And the vast majority say they pay too much.


But a new study shows that the richer you are, the more likely you are to support paying higher tax rates.


Wealthy couple © Digital Vision/Getty ImagesA study from Spectrem Group, a nonpartisan wealth research firm, asked investors what percentage of gross income they feel they should be paying in taxes.


Among the mass affluent -- those worth $100,000 or more -- more than half said they should be paying less than 15 percent. (Fully 26 percent said they should pay between 8 percent and 10 percent, and 24 percent said they should pay between 11 percent and 15 percent.) Only 1 in 10 said they should be paying more than 21 percent.


Among millionaires, or those worth $1 million or more, just under half say they should pay less than 15 percent (Among this group, 21 percent said they should pay between 8 percent and 10 percent, and 24 percent said they should pay between 11 percent and 15 percent). Two in 10 say they should pay more than 21 percent.


Among the "ultra high net worth" investors -- those worth $30 million or more -- Spectrem finds a much higher tolerance for higher rates. Only 29 percent said they should pay less than 15 percent. But 4 in 10 said they should pay more than 21 percent.


A surprising 13 percent said they should pay between 26 percent and 30 percent and 6 percent said they should pay between 31 percent and 40 percent.


It's not like the wealthy or even super wealthy are eager to pay more taxes. The study shows that the vast majority of the affluent, millionaires and ultra-rich believe they should pay less than they already do.


The average tax rate paid by the top 1 percent of taxpayers in 2011 was 23.5 percent.


"Most investors, regardless of wealth level, do not believe they should be paying over 25 percent in taxes," Spectrem said, "although the tax rate for many of these households is probably over 30 percent, especially when state taxes are added to their gross incomes."


Maybe it's just that the richer you are, the more you've gotten used to paying higher rates.


More from CNBC

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

14Comments
Apr 10, 2014 2:27PM
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The rich really don't mind high taxes? The results of the survey do not seem to match the conclusion implied by the headline. One in ten above 21%, two in ten above 21%, four in ten above 21%, all most no one agrees with taxes above 25%, that is hardly an endorsement of high taxes, in fact it is the opposite.  
Apr 10, 2014 2:42PM
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No you won't see me playing into the BS game of Obama and his like. We are all to be treated equally under the law. Unequal taxes is not equality.
Apr 10, 2014 2:16PM
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The percentages quoted in this article are pretty meaningless unless you know the sample size for each classified group and the associated margins of error.

If they had interviewed 100 or more people randomly in each category mentioned, then I could believe the conclusions.  If 5 or less in any category, there the percentages are really questionable.  As it is, who knows the credibility of data and conclusions in this article.
Apr 10, 2014 3:00PM
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Oh please, who in the $100K and up tax brackets is at the 21% federal tax rate?  Even the millionares interviewed (8 of 10) are complaining about a 15% tax rate.  I wish that's all I had to pay.  My federal tax  burdon alone is more than that.  When you add in state, local (including property taxes), statutory withholdings such as Medicare tax and Social Security, I'm paying in excess of 50% of my income in taxes and fees.  It's no wonder there is a flight of well-to-do taxpayers from the high tax states to Florida and Texas.  We are seriously considering retiring anywhere but New York for this reason alone.
Apr 10, 2014 3:18PM
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I bet, with very few exceptions, that those making over $30 million a year are getting their income from dividends and capital gains.  These are taxed at 20% max LT cap gain and qualified dividend rates.  Of course THEY should pay more.   I make waaaay under $1 mill a year and my top dollars are taxed 44% federal and 10% State for a total of 54%.
Apr 10, 2014 3:28PM
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nothing like putting a provacative title on an article to get eyeballs.

 

Chris Rock has a great stand-up routine that talks about divorce and alimony - which any divorcees out there that pay it can agree is basically a "break-up tax"

 

he was talking about OJ Simpson - "if you make 5 million dollars and your wife wants half - you ain't starving.  But if you make thirty thousand, and your wife wants half - you may just have to kill her."

 

I hope one day I'll be able experience both so I can say with certainly, but I'd guess that having 25% of 30 million taken from you hurts a lot less than having 25% of 30,000 taken from you.

Apr 11, 2014 2:56AM
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