Survey says: It’s tax time in Northwest Colorado
March 15, 2018
CRAIG — It's income tax time, and this year's deadline — April 17 — is looming. Recent surveys indicate many Americans are willing to go to great lengths to avoid paying taxes, but also, the gap between people who believe the amount they pay is unfair versus those who don’t has narrowed.
When a Gallup Poll asked the question, "Do you consider the amount of federal income tax you have to pay as too high, about right or too low?" in April 2017, 51 percent of people said they felt taxes were too high, 42 percent felt they were about right, 4 percent felt they were too low and 4 percent had no opinion.
The gap between those who felt taxes were too high and about right was 9 percent. Ten years earlier, in 2007, that gap was 14 percent, and 20 years earlier, in 1997, the gap was 20 percent. This trend seems to indicate that, while to most, tax rates seem unfair, the number represents fewer people than in years and past, and there are more people who think their tax rate is fair. This seems to fit the old adage about how many people can be pleased at a time.
A Google survey of 1,000 Americans by offers.com discovered that Americans would go to great lengths to get out of paying taxes, including shaving their heads (33 percent), sharing their browsing history with a significant other (27 percent) or having the same song stuck in their head for a year (24 percent).
That raises the question: Is it possible to refuse to pay income taxes?
Nolo.com — an integration of some of the Internet's first legal sites — offers the following facts.
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• Everybody is legally obligated to pay income taxes if they have taxable income, and
• Sooner or later, almost all tax protesters end up in trouble with the IRS and, sometimes, go to jail.
These facts confirm the old adage that taxes are one of life's guarantees.
The offers.com survey found tax-filing methods varied widely, depending on the age of the taxpayer. Online filing programs were preferred among millennials, while those age 35 and older were more likely to use an accountant to file their taxes.
Two popular income tax strategies are to accumulate enough taxes to receive a refund, while another is to pay only as much as is needed to fulfill annual obligations.
According to the offers.com survey, among those receiving a refund, most (35 percent) planned to use tax refunds to pay off debt, with only 7 percent intending to use the money for a vacation or to splurge.
As for the changes President Donald Trump and Congress made to the tax code in December, most Americans have doubts.
Gallup found in January that 55 percent of Americans disapproved of them. That was a 1 percent improvement from those who responded to the same question in December.
The 500-page law mostly affects taxes starting in 2018, not what’s owed for 2017.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.