New Poll on U.S. Tax Attitudes

April 5, 2006

We’ve released our annual survey of U.S. attitudes on tax this morning. The surprise result this year: “Would you be willing to give up some deductions to make the tax system simpler?” Some 52 percent said they would—suggesting that, at least in the abstract, Americans understand that the price of tax simplification is fewer tax preferences and are willing to make that trade-off.

We also asked two new questions about the federal budget deficit this year, which produced interesting results. From the summary:

Q727. This year the U.S. budget deficit will be $340 billion, or $2,470 per individual tax return. Some people say it is important to balance the budget. Thinking about your own situation, would you be willing to pay an additional $2,470 in federal taxes to eliminate the deficit and balance the budget?

2006

9%

Yes, I would be willing to pay the additional tax.

79%

No, I would not be willing to pay the additional tax.

12%

Not sure

Source: Tax Foundation

Those who answered the above question “yes” were then asked the follow-up question below, about whether they believed Congress would in fact reduce the deficit with additional tax paid:

Q729. If you paid that extra $2,470 in additional taxes, which one of the following do you believe today’s Congress would do? (Base: Those Willing to Pay Tax)

2006

63%

Mostly increase spending and not pay off the deficit

20%

Pay off part of the deficit and increase spending with the rest

17%

Pay off the entire deficit

1%

Not sure

Source: Tax Foundation

Read the full survey here. For those just interested in the numbers, download the top-line survey data here (PDF).


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