Poll: Most Americans feel they overpay on their taxes

Most Americans feel they pay way too much in taxes, according to a poll from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Two-thirds of U.S. taxpayers say they spend "too much on federal income taxes, according to the poll published last month.

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to view taxes as unfair, to say they are paying too much in taxes, and to see taxes as a poor value.

Confidence in institutions is low

The poll also found that too few U.S. adults have high confidence that the institutions they pay taxes to actually use that money on the best interests of "people like them."

16% are extremely or very confident in their local school district, compared to 6% for the federal government.

Older people think it's fair

Adults who are 60 and older are more likely than younger adults to perceive taxes, generally, as fair.

Chris Berry, a professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy who was involved in the creation of the poll, said that, overall, public opinion about taxes and trust in government has declined. He sees the poll results as partly reflecting increased political polarization but says the public has long typically trusted local government more than the federal government.

"One of the things you’ll hear said is, ‘There’s no Democratic or Republican way to collect the trash or pave the streets,’" he said. "We tend to think of local government as less partisan."

The trade-off of taxes

Among respondents, half say they would prefer having fewer government services if it meant reducing their bill. 

One-third would keep their taxes the same in exchange for the same services, and 16% would opt to increase taxes for more services.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.