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Voters Still Strongly Oppose IRS’ Obamacare Duties

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The head of the Internal Revenue Service acknowledged recently that his agency has fielded less than half of taxpayer telephone calls this year because of its new responsibilities policing Obamacare. But voters still strongly believe the IRS should concentrate on tax collection instead.

Just 20% of Likely U.S. Voters think policing public compliance with the new national health care law is a good use of IRS resources. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 68% disagree and believe the IRS should remain focused on collecting taxes. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These attitudes are unchanged from a year ago. In April 2013, 26% said policing compliance with the health care law was a good use of IRS resources, but 58% disagreed.

Thirty percent (30%) of voters think the IRS does a good or excellent job collecting taxes in America, given the complexity of the tax code and the size of the country. That’s also unchanged from last year but down from 39% in 2013. Twenty-seven percent (27%) rate the agency’s performance as poor, up from 20% two years ago.

Eighteen percent (18%) believe most Americans cheat on their taxes, but 49% disagree. A sizable 33%, however, are not sure. These findings have changed little over the past couple years.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 22-23, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Most voters still don’t like the health care law. Only 13% think Congress should leave the law the way it is. The rest want to fix it on a piece-by-piece basis or repeal it entirely.

Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major political party oppose Obamacare, so it’s not surprising that 79% of GOP voters and 70% of unaffiliateds think the IRS should remain focused on collecting taxes. Despite their support for the health care law, most Democrats (55%) agree.

But Democrats are more likely than the others to give the IRS good or excellent marks for its current job performance.

Unaffiliated voters are less likely than the others to think most Americans cheat on their taxes.

Women and those under 40 believe more strongly than men and older voters that most Americans are tax cheats. But men and those 40 and over are more critical of the job the IRS does collecting taxes.

Voters who think the IRS is doing a poor job are twice as likely as those who give the agency positive marks to say it should remain focused on tax collection rather than policing Obamacare.

Americans are on pace with last year when it comes to filing their income taxes but are slightly less optimistic that they’ll receive a refund. 

Seventeen percent (17%) are at least somewhat concerned that the IRS will audit them, with five percent (5%) who are Very Concerned.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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