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Extra4/10/2007 2:27 PM ET

Paying their share and unhappy about it

An MSN-Zogby poll says that many Americans think they’re paying too much in taxes even though research shows the average tax burden is light compared with other developed countries.

By Bradley Meacham

Most Americans say they're paying their fair share in taxes.

But, according to a recent MSN-Zogby poll, that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it.

People with $75,000 to $100,000 in annual income were most likely (45%) to say they pay too much in taxes, followed by those making more than $100,000 (43%). Just 3% said they pay too little.

About 84% of Americans said they use online tools, tax software or hire a professional to prepare their returns. Only 13% said they prepare their taxes by hand on paper.

The results reflect a tax system that is often seen as too costly and cumbersome. In fact, the tax burden on Americans is lighter than in most developed countries, according to the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan economic research group.

Still, the Internal Revenue Service said Americans spend about 1.6 billion hours preparing taxes each year.

According to the MSN-Zogby poll, the poorest Americans -- those earning less than $35,000 -- were the most likely group to say they’re paying their fair share (62%) and least likely to say they’re paying too much (30%).

A system where everyone pays the same flat tax rate regardless of income is most popular among older Americans, with at least half of those over 50 supporting such a proposal. A majority of those earning more than $75,000 (54%) support it.

When it comes to preparing income tax returns, 38% of Americans said they hire a professional. The most likely to hire help were people who earn more than $100,000 (45%) and those who identified themselves as Republican (43%). Forty-six percent of Americans said they use online tools or tax software to prepare their tax returns.

Most Americans (79%) said they don't fear a tax audit. Wealthier Americans were more likely to say they fear a tax audit.

The interactive survey of 10,642 adults nationwide was conducted March 5-7 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.

Video on MSN Money: Tax tips and advice

Politics and money © Steve Allen/Jupiterimages
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Click here for more tax videos.

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