Most Americans Don't Think Corporations, Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share Of Taxes

03/19/2015 03:02 pm ET | Updated Mar 19, 2015
Oleksiy Mark via Getty Images

Nearly 60 percent of Americans think the federal tax system should be completely overhauled, and just 4 percent say the present system is very fair, but their main gripe isn't about how much they have to pay.

Instead, a new Pew Research poll finds, a majority say they're they're most bothered by the perception that some businesses and higher-income people aren't paying as much as they should. Sixty-four percent of Americans say they're bothered a lot by the feeling that some corporations don't pay their fair share, while 61 percent say the same about wealthy people.

More Are Bothered by Corporations, Wealthy Not Paying Fair Share Than by What They Pay in Taxes

The next biggest complaint, especially among wealthier Americans, had to do with the complexity of the tax system. Of those in households making $100,000 or more, 55 percent were highly bothered by the complexity, compared to just 33 percent of those making less than $30,000 annually.

Just over a quarter of Americans say they're bothered a lot by how much they personally pay in taxes. Fifty-three percent say they pay about the right amount.

Frustration over the taxes paid by wealthy people and corporations crossed party lines, but Democrats were considerably more likely to express concern about those topics. Republicans were far more likely to take issue with the tax system's complexity.

Democrats, Republicans Bothered by Different Aspects of Federal Tax System

The entire concept of tax reform also seems to have grown increasingly partisan. In a 2011 survey, members of both parties were equally likely to say they paid too much in taxes, and Republicans were only 5 points more likely than Democrats to say the tax system should be completely changed. In the most recent poll, members of the GOP were 20 points more likely than Democrats to say they pay too much, and 18 points more likely to say the tax system should be overhauled.

Pew surveyed 1,504 Americans from Feb. 18 to 22, using live interviewers to reach both landlines and cell phones.

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