What Does America Think About Taxes? The 2007 Annual Survey of U.S. Attitudes on Taxes and Wealth

April 12, 2007

Special Report No. 154

Executive Summary
While foreign policy continues to dominate politics in Washington, the 2007 Annual Survey of U.S. Attitudes on Taxes and Wealth shows that the domestic issues of tax complexity, fairness and burdens continue to weigh heavily on the minds of the American people. For the third consecutive year, we find that a majority of U.S. adults say the federal income taxes they pay are "too high," that the federal tax code is complex, and that the U.S. tax system is in need of major changes or a complete overhaul.

This report summarizes the findings of our third annual survey of U.S. opinions on taxes. All results are based on a Harris Interactive® survey conducted on behalf of the Tax Foundation between March 5 and 12, 2007. The survey covers a nationwide cross section of 2,012 U.S. adults aged 18 or older. All data from this and previous years' surveys are available for download free of charge at www.taxfoundation.org under "Public Opinion Surveys on Taxes."

Key Findings:

  • A new 2007 poll of tax attitudes finds a majority of U.S. adults believe the federal tax code is complex, that the federal income taxes they pay are "too high," and the federal tax system needs major changes or a complete overhaul.
  • Just one in ten (10 percent) say they are willing to pay higher taxes to eliminate 2007's projected $244 billion federal budget deficit.
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) favor a complete elimination of the controversial federal estate tax.
  • Roughly half (48 percent) say they are willing to give up some federal tax deductions if such broadening of the tax base were coupled with an across-the-board cut in tax rates.
  • The estate tax is seen as the most "unfair" federal tax, followed by gasoline taxes and personal income taxes. At the state and local level, gasoline taxes are seen as the most "unfair" tax, followed by local property taxes and motor vehicle taxes.

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