Naomi Fowler ■ Is it ‘smart’ to avoid your taxes? US Americans believe not


US Americans apparently share a fundamental civic commitment to taxpaying. That’s not what you might think from the anti-tax rhetoric that has been a strong feature of Republican politics. Presidential candidate Donald Trump may have avoided paying any federal income taxes for nearly two decades and famously claimed that that makes him ‘smart’. Well, that’s not a sentiment that’s shared by voters. According to Vanessa Williamson, a fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution,

“The data are clear: Americans do not think it’s smart to avoid your taxes; they think it’s unethical.”

She has studied the attitudes of US citizens towards taxes for the last six years and has just written an interesting article in the New York Times entitled Tax me. Please.

It may come as a surprise but apparently:

“Pollsters have been asking Americans whether “it is every American’s civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes.” Every year, about nine in 10 Americans agree with that sentiment. In 2009, 3 percent of respondents disagreed. That level of accord is very rare. To give you a point of reference: About 6 percent of Americans think the Apollo 11 moon landing was faked. On the civic responsibility of taxpaying, Americans are about as close to consensus as they ever get.”

According to research what upsets most people isn’t how much they contribute, but the fact that the wealthy can avoid paying their fair share. There is plenty more interesting information and data in this article, now read on here.

Vanessa Williamson is also the author of a book that will be out soon: “Read My Lips: Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes”, which we’ll look forward to.

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Comments • 1

  • john burns
    October 29, 2016 - 12:45 pm

    If no one pays tax then how can government work? as it becomes bankrupt?
    In not paying fair taxes business is presumably creating greater wealth to benefit the surrounding society both directly (Higher wages, greater stability of work force and lower cost services and goods?) and indirectly (by increasing the wealth and modernity of the consumer who now lives in a wealthier community)
    None of these changes has happened since actually the rich poor divide has grown exponentially, in the last 35 years (since President Ronald Reagan)
    So business not paying fair taxes is a scam and a swindle to the surrounding (honest society.)

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