It's no surprise Americans aren't happy with their federal tax system.
But a new poll finds the problem isn't necessarily the taxes they're paying. Instead, folks are concerned the wealthy aren't paying their fair tax share.
In a survey conducted Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 52 percent of Americans say they pay the right amount in taxes.
However, fewer people now consider the overall tax system as even moderately fair. Forty-three percent of those surveyed this month said the system is fair, compared to 51 percent of people who viewed the U.S. tax system as fair eight years ago.
And roughly 6 in 10, or 59 percent, want a totally new tax system.
Political differences on tax code problems: There's no big partisan divide over the need to overhaul the tax code, reports Pew. Regardless of political affiliation, the survey found most people agreed there is so much wrong with the federal tax system that Congress should completely change it.
But there are differences between Democrats, Republicans and voters who call themselves politically independent when it comes to what bothers them most about taxes.
Most Democrats (73 percent) and Independents (57 percent) said their biggest tax concern is the feeling some wealthy people get away with not paying their fair tax share.
Republicans, on the other hand, said the complexity of the system is their biggest complaint. That concern was cited by 43 percent of GOP poll respondents, with 38 percent of that group worried about the tax-paying status of the rich.
Pew pollsters say the closeness of the answers by Republicans "reflects substantial intra-party differences along socioeconomic and ideological lines."
Republicans who agree with the Tea Party movement are among the most likely to say the complexity of the tax system is what bothers them most; 57 percent chose that answer.
But Republicans who don't agree with the Tea Party said, by a 49 percent tally, that the feeling some wealthy people don't pay their fair share of taxes is their biggest complaint.
Tax talk, but little change: For the immediate future, though, everyone is probably just going to have to learn to live with the tax system as is.
In 2012, there will be a lot of talk, mainly from Democrats, about taxing the wealthy more. In fact, they plan to bring up a millionaires' surtax again when the payroll tax rate cut extension debate resumes next year.
And Republicans will continue to fight to keep income tax rates at their current levels or cut all of them more.
But precisely because 2012 is an election year, no politician wants to actually take responsibility or blame for any tax changes before election day.
What irritates you most about the current tax system? Will a candidate's stance on taxes affect your voting choice?
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