When it comes to taxes, everyone wants to pay less. They also want the other someone else to pay more. Faceless corporations are always good targets to tax more along with the “rich,” whoever they may be, even though most of us aspire to be wealthy someday.
Everyone knows taxes are needed to safeguard the neighborhoods, put out the fires, pave the streets and protect the nation. They also know that the streets are filled with potholes, and the cost of college tuition rises every year. It seems that under whatever party controls Washington, your take-home pay barely budges or entry-level salaries aren’t enough to pay for food and an apartment.
They also know that the tax system is so confusing, we’ve got giant online services making fortunes by providing software and online services just so you can file your taxes. The system also supports a staggering 1.25 million accountants and auditors — and that number doesn’t even count their support staff.
So it came as no surprise to us that our recent GenFKD survey of millennials asking about tax reform showed that 82 percent actually want tax reform. But what does that mean? It probably means they want to find a way to pay less and for other people — and corporations — to pay more. In fact, the average millennial believes that he or she should only pay 13 percent of their income in taxes, a fraction of the current rate.
But the questions we asked and the answers we received about entrepreneurship and small business were truly revealing. A staggering 82 percent of the 502 millennials we polled believe in the need for tax reform. More to our point, 76 percent do not believe the current tax system is friendly to small businesses.
What does seem to have changed over the past 15 years or so is that millennials are now inspired by people who start their own businesses — whether it’s the famous Mark Zuckerbergs of the world or the person you vaguely knew in high school who has a successful app or even the guy who used his college buddies to build a nationwide household moving and trucking company. There are also thousands of successful computer programmers or web developers who run their own businesses from a WeWork or other shared office.
Our survey strengthened our assumptions that this generation is more business- and career-oriented — and more enthused about entrepreneurship and starting businesses than ever before. And that helped lead them to realize that if the tax system actually supported business startups and small businesses — the companies that actually hire and employ the vast majority of Americans — then maybe we can all be better off.
Reform means to change. Let’s hope Congress can make changes that help everyone by leveling the playing field, closing unfair loopholes, simplifying the system — and ensuring that people with a good idea can more easily start a business, hire a team and put themselves and more Americans to work.