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Americans feel obliged to pay taxes

The IRS has seen its’ staff size shrink, which has led to a mere .6 percent chance of a taxpayer audit. There is a President of the United States who brags about how little he pays in taxes. Nevertheless, the IRS’s annual survey says that Americans not only pay their taxes but that 9 out of 10 feels that it is their civic duty or a moral obligation.

This may come as a surprise to those who bemoan the moral decay of our society. Nevertheless, an estimated 81 to 84 percent of Americans voluntarily pay their taxes here in the U.S. According to the Atlantic, this is markedly higher than in the European Union where Germany tops the list at 68 percent, Italy sits at 62 percent, and the best guess about Greece is under 50 percent.

Why we pay

Countries with lower voluntary payment percentages often have robust black markets, or the people are cynical about their government. U.S. economists cite a high rate of payment here for the following reasons:

  • Democratic values
  • Civic pride
  • Social norms
  • Trust in our leaders and citizens
  • Transparency in government oversight and spending

Willingness to pay can still lead to a dispute

This is our first tax season under 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and there may be a lot of differences in how taxpayers calculate their figures. The IRS is aware of this and is waiving penalties for many whose tax withholdings or estimates are turned out to be wrong. If a taxpayer is audited, gotten a notice in the mail from the IRS about a dispute or are concerned about tax dispute, it generally wise to consult with an attorney with tax law experience here in Ohio. They can help those proud taxpayers with both state or federal issues.

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