Why do so many Americans hate paying income taxes?

It’s not simply about the money.

Researchers Jeff Kidder of Northern Illinois University and Isaac Martin from the University of California-San Diego have found that there are moral underpinnings that help explain why many hate paying taxes.

Rather than being associated with a free-market ideology or a person’s own economic interests, tax hostility is more linked with moral principles.


“Tax talk is about dollars, but it is also about a moral sense of what is right.”

Generally, respondents saw income taxes as violating the moral principle that hard work should be rewarded.

The respondents “portray taxation as a threat to the moral order because they believe taxes deprive deserving hardworking middle class people of dignity, while rewarding others who are undeserving (both rich and poor)”.

Entrepreneurs are particularly anti-tax.

In fact, a recent survey by payroll service provider Paychex found that tax codes, along with employment regulations and retirement security are the top three election issues for small business owners.

Source: LiveScience extract from the Journal Symbolic Interaction

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