April 11, 2013 - American Voters Say 2-1 Taxes Are Too Complicated, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; But Most Say They Pay Their Fair Share

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Almost two-thirds of American voters, 64 percent, have someone else prepare their federal income tax return and say 64 - 31 percent that the federal income tax system is too complicated, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

They personally pay their fair share of taxes, 57 percent of American voters tell the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll, while 36 percent say they pay more than their fair share and 3 percent say they pay less. Opinions about income groups are:
  • 55 percent say the rich pay less than fair share, while 14 percent say more and 24 percent say the rich pay about the right amount;
  • 35 percent say lower income people pay more than their fair share, while 19 percent say less and 39 percent say about right;
  • 50 percent say middle-income people pay more than their fair share, while 4 percent say less and 42 percent say about right.
Eliminating most deductions and lowering overall tax rates would be a "good idea," voters say 47 - 35 percent. This change would not affect their tax bill, 41 percent of voters say, while 29 percent say they would pay more and 20 percent say they would pay less.

"By 2-1 margins, American voters say the system is too complicated and that they get someone else to do their taxes," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "And while almost everyone gripes about paying taxes, most voters say they pay their fair share, while about a third say they pay too much.

"There is only a small gender difference on tax preparation, as 36 percent of men and 31 percent of women do it themselves."

"More than half of voters, 55 percent, say the rich pay less than their fair share of taxes, while 19 percent say those with lower incomes pay too little and only 4 percent say the middle class fails to hold up its obligations," said Brown. "And only 3 percent say they personally pay too little."

The strongest support for reforming the tax system to lower rates with fewer deductions is among Republicans, 56 - 27 percent, with independent voters supporting it 45 - 36 percent and Democrats divided 43 - 41 percent. Support for reform rises with income, from 43 - 40 percent among those making less than $50,000 per year to 55 - 32 percent among those making more than $100,000 per year.

There is a large gender gap as men support reform 56 - 31 percent, while women are divided 40 - 39 percent.

By a large 71 - 21 percent margin, including 62 - 28 percent among Republicans, American voters say Congress should close tax loopholes for people with higher incomes.

From March 26 - April 1, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,711 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information or RSS feed, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

30. Do you feel people with higher incomes pay more than their fair share in federal income taxes, less than their fair share, or is the amount they pay about right?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
More than fair share 14%    26%     5%    14%    16%    13%    16%     7%    11%
Less than fair share 55     32     74     55     52     58     54     64     48
About right          24     34     15     25     26     22     24     21     24
DK/NA                 7      8      6      6      6      8      6      7     17
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+
 
More than fair share 18%    13%    11%    12%    20%    11%    17%    15%
Less than fair share 54     55     59     57     48     57     55     54
About right          24     24     21     27     27     26     23     22
DK/NA                 4      8      9      3      5      7      5      9
 
 
31. Do you feel people with lower incomes pay more than their fair share in federal income taxes, less than their fair share, or is the amount they pay about right?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
More than fair share 35%    20%    46%    35%    32%    38%    31%    57%    43%
Less than fair share 19     33      5     19     22     15     20     10     10
About right          39     40     42     40     40     39     43     24     37
DK/NA                 7      7      6      6      6      8      6      9     10
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+
 
More than fair share 28%    38%    45%    31%    21%    44%    32%    33%
Less than fair share 24     16     11     22     27     11     22     19
About right          42     38     38     41     47     41     42     37
DK/NA                 6      8      6      5      5      4      5     10
 
 
32. Do you feel people with middle incomes pay more than their fair share in federal income taxes, less than their fair share, or is the amount they pay about right?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
More than fair share 50%    50%    50%    49%    46%    54%    49%    53%    43%
Less than fair share  4      3      4      4      6      2      3      3      7
About right          42     43     43     44     45     39     43     40     40
DK/NA                 4      5      4      4      3      5      4      4     10
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+
 
More than fair share 49%    51%    48%    52%    51%    38%    56%    51%
Less than fair share  4      4      4      4      4      6      3      3
About right          45     40     42     43     44     50     39     41
DK/NA                 2      5      7      1      1      5      2      6
 
 
33. And how about you, do you feel you pay more than your fair share in federal income taxes, less than your fair share, or is the amount you pay about right?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
More than fair share 36%    39%    31%    37%    36%    36%    34%    46%    39%
Less than fair share  3      3      3      3      4      3      4      2      4
About right          57     55     63     56     57     56     58     50     50
DK/NA                 4      3      3      4      2      5      4      2      7
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+
 
More than fair share 33%    38%    34%    36%    40%    33%    43%    32%
Less than fair share  5      3      3      5      3      3      4      3
About right          61     55     57     57     56     62     50     59
DK/NA                 2      5      5      1      1      2      2      6
 
 
34. Who usually does your federal income tax return? Do you do it yourself or do you have someone do it for you?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Self                 34%    29%    33%    38%    36%    31%    34%    25%    33%
Someone else         64     70     64     61     63     65     64     72     59
DK/NA                 2      1      4      2      1      3      2      4      8
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+
 
Self                 41%    30%    32%    37%    33%    40%    35%    28%
Someone else         58     67     63     63     66     59     64     68
DK/NA                 1      3      4      -      -      1      1      4
 
 
35. Do you think the federal tax system is too complicated, or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Yes/too complicated  64%    73%    58%    63%    69%    60%    69%    52%    42%
No, not              31     24     35     33     28     34     27     40     47
DK/NA                 5      3      7      4      3      6      3      9     10
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+
 
Yes/too complicated  72%    61%    56%    65%    78%    49%    66%    72%
No, not              25     34     38     31     20     47     31     22
DK/NA                 3      6      6      4      2      4      3      7
 
                     PREPARES TAX RETURN Q34
                     Self   SomeoneElse
 
Yes/too complicated  59%    68%
No, not              40     27
DK/NA                 2      5
 
 
36. Suppose income tax rates were lowered and most deductions were eliminated. Do you think this change in the tax system would be a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Good idea            47%    56%    43%    45%    56%    40%    51%    36%    37%
Bad idea             35     27     41     36     31     39     32     49     43
DK/NA                18     17     16     18     14     21     17     15     20
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+
 
Good idea            52%    45%    43%    54%    55%    46%    49%    47%
Bad idea             31     37     40     31     32     40     37     32
DK/NA                17     18     17     15     13     14     14     21
 
                     PREPARES TAX RETURN Q34
                     Self   SomeoneElse
 
Good idea            49%    47%
Bad idea             36     35
DK/NA                15     18
 
 
37. If tax rates were lowered and most deductions were eliminated, do you think you would pay more in taxes, pay less in taxes, or pay about the same as you pay now?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
More                 29%    26%    28%    31%    27%    30%    29%    35%    25%
Less                 20     17     21     22     21     19     18     22     31
About the same       41     48     41     36     43     39     43     35     35
DK/NA                10      9     11     11      9     12     10      8     10
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+
 
More                 26%    30%    29%    29%    31%    31%    34%    24%
Less                 22     19     20     21     22     31     19     13
About the same       42     40     42     41     38     33     37     50
DK/NA                10     10     10      9      9      5     10     13
 
 
38. Do you think Congress should close tax loopholes for Americans with higher incomes or don't you think so?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Yes/Close loopholes  71%    62%    79%    70%    74%    67%    74%    59%    57%
No                   21     28     14     22     20     22     18     32     28
DK/NA                 9      9      7      8      6     11      7      8     15
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+
 
Yes/Close loopholes  77%    67%    68%    72%    78%    64%    70%    75%
No                   16     23     22     20     16     28     22     16
DK/NA                 6      9      9      8      6      8      7      9
 
 

Demographic Summary