Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform attributes this disparity to the different social policies and political climates of the different generations. "Older people feel (the system skews to benefit the wealthy) because most older adults grew up with much more class-envy rhetoric in their youth," he says. "The very old grew up with New Deal socialism. Baby boomers grew up with Great Society socialism. Gens X and Y grew up with Reagan, the fall of the Berlin Wall, global free trade and Internet small businesses. People are just more entrepreneurial now."
|Don't let the IRS handle it|
|If it were possible, how willing would you be to let the IRS complete your tax return for you?|
|Very/somewhat willing (total)||32%|
|Not very/not at all willing (total)||65%|
|Not very willing||17%|
|Or, not at all willing||48%|
The buck stops here
Fewer than a third of respondents (32 percent) would be willing to relinquish control over their returns by allowing the IRS to do their taxes for them.
Bankrate's McBride sees a correlation in the 32 percent who would be somewhat or very willing to let the IRS complete their tax returns for them and the 28 percent that feel clueless about their tax planning and preparation.
Hughes concurs, noting that 43 percent of young people (age 18-24) would be willing to let the IRS do their taxes for them. And 42 percent in that age group feel clueless about income tax planning and preparation.
Yet overall, 65 percent wouldn't let the IRS do their returns.
"It's surprising," says Burman, "when in California they've been doing this for people for a couple of years and it's my understanding it's been quite popular."
Bankrate's Tax Talk columnist George Saenz says, "The more you make, the more you worry about holding on to it, and that dynamic is reflected in the poll results. People at the lower income levels are more willing to let the government do their taxes and at the lower level it probably makes more sense ... if it were more automated," he says. "Others are probably worried about fewer opportunities for deductions."