DHM Research

Taxes in 2019

Shortly after Tax Day, we touched base with Oregonians about their experiences with and perceptions of taxes in 2019. It turns out online filing and the possibility of the IRS developing their own free digital filing system are popular in the state. Oregonian’s views are less rosy when it comes to the fairness of the federal tax system. Read on for more!

These findings come from the April 2019 fielding of our DHM Panel. The survey was conducted from April 18–26, 2019, and surveyed 596 Oregonians. The results were weighted by age, gender, area of the state, political party, and level of education to ensure a representative sample of Oregonians. The margin of error for this survey is ±4.0%.

Online tax filing was the most popular method for Oregonians, and 7 in 10 oppose proposed legislation to prevent the IRS from creating a free online tax filing system.

By the time we fielded our survey, 88% of Oregonians had filed their 2018 taxes. About one half (54%) of those individuals did so using an online platform. Online tax filing was the most popular method used in for 2018 taxes across all demographic groups, with the exception of individuals over the age of 65, who tended to use an accountant or other professional to file.

Bar graph showing the ways Oregonians filed their taxes in 2018.

While companies who provide online tax filing services are currently required to provide free filing services to those who make less than $66,000 annually, many taxpayers are either ineligible for free filing or end up paying these services regardless of eligibility. The US Congress is currently considering a law called the Taxpayer First Act, which, among other administrative changes, would permanently ban the IRS from developing a free electronic tax filing system. We asked Oregonians to share their opinions of this proposed legislation and found that a majority were in opposition (71%), with 53% strongly opposed.

Though clear differences in opinion exist by political party—Democrats (79%) are more likely to oppose than Republicans (58%)—the majority of individuals in each major party are opposed to this provision. Opinions also tend to differ by income, with frequency of opposition increasing as income increases. In short, those who would remain ineligible for free filing are more likely to oppose this provision.

Bar graph showing Oregons support and opposition to a provision of the Taxpayer First Act.

Oregonians think the federal tax system is less fair than Americans do. Opinions on the topic are strongly correlated to political affiliation.

Compared to results from a national Pew Research Center study in March 2019, Oregonians are more likely to believe the federal tax system is not at all fair, while Americans are much more likely to say the system is moderately fair. In both cases, notably few characterize current federal taxes as very fair.

Among Oregonians, Democrats tend to be the most skeptical and Republicans the least. That said, only 35% of Republicans categorize federal taxes as fair—the highest rating of any demographic group.

Graph showing Oregonians opinions of the fairness of the federal tax system compared the other American's views.

In general, Oregonians agree with Americans when it comes to their perceptions of the amount of federal taxes that certain groups pay. Both groups generally think that lower-income and middle-income people pay too much, while upper-income Americans and large businesses or corporations pay too little.

Bar graph showing Oregonians' perceptions of how much certain groups pay in federal taxes.

There are notable differences in these perceptions by political affiliation. Republicans are more likely than other Oregonians to view the tax system as stacked against small businesses and their households, and in favor of lower-income Americans. Democrats and Oregonians who are non-affiliated or members of minor parties more often say that lower-income Americans pay too much and indicate an appetite for increased taxes on larger businesses and upper-income people. Oregonians of all stripes—partisan and otherwise—do agree that middle-income Americans currently pay too much.