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Poll Reveals Americans Feel They Pay Too Much in Federal Taxes

Poll Reveals Americans Feel They Pay Too Much in Federal Taxes

Apr 10, 2024

Poll Reveals Americans Feel They Pay Too Much in Federal Taxes

A recent poll has revealed that a majority of Americans believe that they are paying too much in federal income taxes. According to the survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORCS), 60 percent of respondents feel that their tax contributions are excessive, while only 27 percent consider the amount they pay to be fair.


The survey, which analyzed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data from 2021, also highlighted a lack of public awareness regarding who bears the most significant tax burden in the United States. Just 18 percent of those surveyed were able to accurately identify the group that pays the most in federal taxes.

The United States tax system is progressive, meaning that individuals with higher incomes pay taxes at a proportionally higher rate. Despite this, there appears to be a substantial gap between the perception of tax fairness and the reality of tax contributions as indicated by the data.

CBS News reported on the study's findings, noting the stark differences in tax burdens across various income levels. The average taxpayer in the United States pays around $14,000 annually in federal taxes, not including payroll taxes for programs like Social Security. Yet, the disparities are pronounced when income is considered. Those in the bottom half of the income spectrum pay an average of $667 each year, while those in the top 50 percent pay an average of $27,891.

The top 1 percent of income earners, a group often criticized for allegedly not paying their 'fair share,' actually pay an average of $653,730 in income taxes. This segment of the population contributes almost half (45.8 percent) of all federal income tax dollars, and collectively, the top 50 percent of income earners are responsible for 97.7 percent of the federal income tax revenue.

Contrary to the belief held by 60 percent of Americans, as reported in a Pew Research study, that the wealthy do not pay a 'fair share' of taxes, the data suggests that they are, in fact, bearing a substantial portion of the nation's tax obligations.

The current state of public opinion on federal income tax, as evidenced by the poll, points to a disconnect between perceptions of tax fairness and the actual distribution of tax payments among different income groups. The potential implications of this disparity in understanding may influence future tax policy discussions and public sentiment toward tax reforms.

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