There have been extensive budget cuts at the IRS and the average audit rate is just .6 percent. The president has bragged and been cagey about how little he paid in taxes. Nevertheless, an annual IRS survey claims that nine out of ten Americans believe that it is their civic duty to pay taxes.
While many bemoan the moral decay of America, this number has remained consistent over the years. According to the Atlantic magazine, an 81 to 84 percent rate of voluntary compliance is actually much higher than similar circumstances in other similar countries in the European Union – for example, Germany topped the list with 68 percent, Italy was near the bottom with 62 percent, and Greece is said to be under 50 percent.
Why do we pay?
Economists have come with a list of reasons why Americans pay:
- Democratic values
- Social norms
- Civic pride
- Transparent government spending and oversight
- Trust in leadership and fellow citizens
Paying the right amount can be confusing
We are now in our first tax season under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The IRS is aware of this and offers leniency and no fines this year if the calculations are relatively close. However, there sometimes will be disagreements with the IRS or the state government. This is when an attorney can help protect the rights of the taxpayer and defend their reasoning if it is logical and sound. Those who are audited or gotten paperwork from the IRS would be advised to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to discuss options for resolving the matter as quickly and efficiently as possible.