I ♥ IRS?

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Think the IRS is the most reviled branch of the government? Far from it. In a 1998 Harris Interactive poll, the vast majority of Americans who have had any contact with the agency say they have been treated fairly (76 percent) and 83 percent of those who have talked to IRS personnel say the people they spoke with were courteous. Only 5 percent of the total population believe the revenue agency's representatives were ever discourteous. According to a poll taken by Gallup in 2000, men are more likely to dislike the IRS than women (61 percent versus 51 percent). High-income earners are also less impressed: 68 percent of those earning $75,000 or more view the agency negatively, compared with 44 percent of those earning under $20,000. Yet Gallup also found that 66 percent — a significant majority — believe that the agency does a “good or very good job.� More conservatives than liberals praised the agency's efficacy (71 percent compared with 58 percent), though that opinion isn't necessarily a compliment. Conservatives tend to think that taxes are too high and the IRS is all too good at collecting them.

WHAT THE RICH KNOW

The higher one's income, the more likely one is to think people cheat the IRS.

PEOPLE GET AWAY WITH NOT PAYING ALL THE TAXES THEY SHOULD PEOPLE WHO HAVE PAID ALL THEIR TAXES ARE UNFAIRLY HARRASSED BY THE IRS
Total 50% 33%
$15K or less 43% 42%
$15K to $35K 48% 33%
$35K to $50K 51% 33%
$50 to $75K 57% 32%
$75k + 57% 33%
Source: Harris Interactive, April, 1998
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