Nearly Six in Ten Believe Wealthy Should Pay Higher Taxes
The tax rates paid by the country’s wealthiest earners are almost always the topic of political debate. But according to a new poll, a majority of Americans feel Uncle Sam should be taking a bit more.
Fifty-eight percent of the country, including 52 percent of those who describe themselves as upper-class, think the rich don’t pay enough in taxes. But it wasn’t all bad news: people also said they thought the rich were hard-working and intelligent.
But the good news for the rich doesn’t end there. The 58 percent figure is a drop from previous polls. In 1977, 77 percent of people thought the rich should pay more, and the top tax rate was actually higher than today’s rate. But while the long-term trend seems to favor the wealthiest income earners, the overall snapshot shows increasing taxes on the wealthy is what the country prefers.
If you’re one of the lucky 0.3 percent of Americans who make $1 million or more, your baseline federal income tax rate stands at 35 percent. But while that portion of the country is pretty small, households making that much money make up 20 percent of the country’s tax burden.
The results of this 2,500-person poll by the Pew Research Center can only provide fodder supporters of increased taxes on the rich. So while taxes may stand at just over a third of one’s income, a higher rate could soon be reality thanks to public opinion.
Increasing taxes is a monumental task in Washington D.C., with politicians in permanent deadlock over it. So while a rate may stand at a fixed number, the IRS enhances its collection efforts to increase the U.S. Treasury’s coffers. New and sophisticated computer systems, increased audits and wage garnishments, and the hiring of more IRS agents are just a few of the ways Uncle Sam collects more taxes while rates remain unchanged.
The bottom line for wealthy Americans is that public opinion backs an increase on the top tax rate. And where public opinion leads, the politicians follow. But getting your taxes resolved with the IRS can help even the wealthiest save a significant amount in potential penalties and interest, which will help an IRS agent have a positive opinion about you.
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