Tax Bytes

Most polled say U.S. income taxes too high

April 14, 1996
Web posted at: 1:55 p.m. EDT

With tax day looming Monday, how do Americans feel about paying federal income taxes?

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released Sunday shows nearly two-thirds of Americans say they pay too much in federal income taxes.

The poll was based on interviews with 1,010 adult Americans April 9-10. The sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

poll one poll two

The complaint, however, is an old one.

As far back as 1948 when Gallup first asked the question, 57 percent of those polled said their federal taxes were too high. In 1969, a whopping 69 percent said they paid too much; in 1973, 65 percent felt the same way.

For the record, 33 percent of those polled this year feel their federal income taxes are about right. One percent says taxes are too low.

Your federal income taxes

Too high      64%
About right   33%
Too low        1%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Income taxes are too high

1996      64%
1994      56%
1969      69%
1948      57%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


The public also believes that low- and middle-income people are paying too much in federal taxes, while the rich aren't paying their fair share.

Sixty-eight percent think upper-income Americans are not paying enough; only 19% say upper-income Americans are paying their fair share.

Four out of 10 say low-income Americans are paying their fair share and 48 percent say they are paying too much. Meanwhile, 58 percent say the middle class pays too much in taxes; 34 percent say they pay their fair share.


Taxes paid by lower-income people

Too much      48%
Too little     9%
Fair share    40%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


Taxes paid by middle-income people 

Too much      58%
Too little     5%
Fair share    34%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


Taxes paid by upper-income people

Too much       9%
Too little    68%
Fair share    19%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts



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