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Most Americans Underestimate the Tax Burden

Friday, August 17, 2012

One of the more remarkable features of the political landscape remains the fact that most Americans believe the nation is overtaxed while dramatically underestimating the actual level of taxes paid.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey confirms that finding. If a person earns $60,000 a year, only 11% think that person would pay more than $15,000 in payroll and income taxes. In reality, while the amount would vary depending upon the circumstances of the individual, the actual tax burden would be higher than that amount.

As a starting point, such a salary would generate $4,590 in payroll taxes. Recommended withholding for such a salary range from $7,000 to $10,000 before inclusion of state taxes. Overall, even if the worker only paid 17% in combined state and federal income taxes, their total payments would top the $15,000 mark.

Nine percent (9%) think the total tax bill would be less than $5,000 annually. That barely covers the cost of the payroll taxes. Twenty-seven percent (27%) think the total would be between $5,000 and $10,000, while 17% estimate a tax burden between $10,000 and $15,000. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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