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21 Percent Say It’s Morally Acceptable for Middle Class to Bend Tax Rules

Even though Americans say government wastes 50 percent of the tax money collected each year, they do not believe that justifies cheating at tax time to reduce one’s tax bill.

The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds 21 percent think it’s morally acceptable for the middle class to reduce the amount they have to pay in taxes “even if it means bending the rules,” while 77 percent say it’s not morally acceptable. Slightly lower, 15 percent say it’s ok for the wealthy to bend the rules to reduce their tax burden, while 83 percent say it’s not. 

Taken together, about 10 percent of Americans say it’s ok for the middle class to cheat, but not the wealthy. This group is not particularly more partisan or demographically different from other respondents, but tends to be slightly more male.

Those who say it's ok for both the wealthy and the middle class to bend the rules at tax time are also not that different from other respondents demographically, but also tend to be more male and fiscally conservative. 

Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 26-30 2014 interviewed 1003 adults on both mobile (503) and landline (500) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.6%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

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