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Countdown to Tax Day: Americans Proud to Pay Taxes

April 14, 2016 at 2:15 PM

Forget the conventional wisdom.  Americans overwhelmingly take pride in paying their taxes, a 2014 survey by the IRS Oversight Board shows.

Our country’s tax system is based on voluntary compliance.  Its proper functioning, therefore, depends on lots of civic duty and responsibility, and that’s exactly what exists.  Some 94 percent of Americans believe it’s their civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes.

In The Atlantic last April, Vanessa Williamson highlighted some interview anecdotes that hint at the reasons behind these strong survey results:

  • A 28-year-old from Utah: “It feels good to contribute.”
  • A former Marine: “[It’s] the cost of being an American.”
  • A woman from Kansas: “[T]he country has to be taken care of.”

Beyond the pride of fulfilling a fundamental civic obligation, Americans can take pride in where their tax dollars are going (see here for state tax dollars and here for federal).  As one woman from Florida told Williamson, “maybe my little bit of money that I’m putting in is paying somebody else’s Social Security or Medicare.”

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