7 things you should know about America’s most-hated tax

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Of all the taxes you pay, the one most people hate will surprise you.

No one likes paying any kind of taxes, so you might think that in any ranking of the most hated tax Americans have to pay, every tax you have to pay would all tie for first. That said, we’re in the middle of income tax season, and there’s been plenty of political and tax policy discussion about the negative impacts of the estate tax, which many call the death tax. Yet neither the income tax nor the estate tax turns out to be the most-hated tax, instead giving way to a tax that nearly everyone pays either directly or indirectly.

Why the property tax is most hated tax

About a decade ago, pollsters at Gallup, CNN, and USA TODAY sought to find out what was the most hated tax. Many undoubtedly expected that the federal income tax would be the winner of this dubious distinction, given all the time that people spend on their returns. Yet by a more than 2-to-1 margin, property tax topped income tax as the most hated, with more than 40% of those surveyed picking it above the numerous other tax choices available.

When you think about it, the fact that property tax is most hated makes a degree of sense. Consider the following seven facts about property taxes, and you’ll see how they explain the ire that Americans feel toward it.

  1. Property tax isn’t progressive

Most property taxes are imposed as flat rates on the value of the property you own. That stands in stark contrast to the income tax system, where higher-income taxpayers pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than those with lower incomes. Indeed, many taxpayers at the low end of the income spectrum get money back from the government at tax time through various credits aimed at poorer Americans.

Some will point out that those who don’t own homes don’t have to pay a property tax bill. However, landlords always seek to pass through their costs in setting rent, and when property taxes rise, so do rents in order to match the higher tax expense. That leaves everyone facing the effects of property tax, either directly or indirectly.

  1. There’s almost nothing you can do to cut your property tax

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