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Majority of Americans Say the Income Taxes They Pay Are Fair

Majority of Americans Say the Income Taxes They Pay Are Fair

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' views about their taxes are unchanged compared with a year ago, with 59% saying the amount they pay in income taxes is fair.

Line graph. Americans’ view the amount of income tax they pay is fair, 1997-2020.

In a separate question, 48% say the amount they pay in federal income tax is "about right," while 46% say it's too high.

Line graph. Americans’ views on the amount they pay in income tax, 1956 to 2020.

These results are based on Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, conducted April 1-14. This survey was fielded about two weeks after the federal government announced it was delaying the April 15 tax-filing deadline to July 15 to give individuals and businesses more time to file, given the disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Additionally, the survey was conducted after Congress passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package -- which included direct payments of $1,200 or more to most Americans -- but before most people received that money.

Although close to half of Americans still say their taxes are too high, this percentage has been lower during Donald Trump's presidency than during the final years of Barack Obama's. The percentage saying "too high" dropped six percentage points after Trump took office, and dipped an additional six points after he signed a tax cuts bill in December 2017.

The recent dip in concern that taxes are too high is largely due to Republicans and independents becoming less likely to hold this view since Trump took office.

As has typically been the case, there is little difference by party group in perceptions that taxes are too high. However, under Obama, Republicans and independents were more likely than Democrats to say that the income taxes they paid were too high.

Line graph. The percentage of Americans who say the income tax they pay is too high, by political affiliation.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

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