Americans tell Gallup they’re fed up with federal income taxes

The popularity of the federal income tax has dropped to its lowest level in more than two decades of Gallup polling.

Six in 10 adults responding to the polling company’s latest survey said the amount they are paying is “too high,” the most people since 65% said the same in 2001 shortly before Republican President George W. Bush signed his first major tax cut law.

“Since then, no presidents have significantly raised federal income tax rates for lower- and middle-income Americans, but Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden both raised taxes on upper-income Americans and corporations,” Gallup said Friday.

Among those responding to the latest survey, 36% said the amount of federal income tax they paid was “about right” and 3% said it was “too low.”

Since Gallup started polling the question in 1947, the share of federal taxpayers who said they were paying too much hit a low of 43% in March 1949 and a high of 71% in February 1952.

More recently, Gallup has recorded a 9-point increase in the percentage of lower-income Americans saying their taxes are too high — from 41% to 50% — from Donald Trump’s last year as president in 2020 to now.

Over the same period, that percentage has jumped 8 points among middle-income Americans from 50% to 58%. Among Americans earning $100,000 or more, it has increased by 18 points to 66%.

The latest survey also found that 51% of adults say the amount they owe the federal government this year is “not fair,” a new high in Gallup polling. An additional 46% said they viewed the amount as “fair,” close to the record low of 45% measured in 1999.

The survey reported that adults “now regard federal income tax as the worst among five common government taxes” — followed in order by local property taxes, state income tax, state sales tax and the federal Social Security tax. Local property taxes topped the list the last time the survey asked this question in 2005.

Gallup conducted a randomized national telephone survey of 1,013 adults from April 3-25. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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