Majority of millennials believe current tax system is unequal: Study

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Millennials don't see much equality in the current tax landscape and are not optimistic that the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will help, according to a new study.

Big Four firm EY has released the findings of "The Millennial Economy 2018," a new report in which the firm polled over 1,200 millennials (from ages 20 to 36) about a wide range of economic issues, from their views on the current tax landscape to their own professional aspirations.

Concerning the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, millennials indicated in the report they are not optimistic that it will change the status quo. Sixty percent believe that large corporations will pay less taxes under the TCJA and 57 percent believe that high-income individuals will also pay less. On how the TCJA will impact them, 39 percent of millennials expect their federal tax payments to remain the same, with 27 percent believing their taxes will increase and 26 percent believing their taxes will decrease.

"As we near the end of the first full year under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, EY’s survey provides businesses and lawmakers with valuable insight into how millennials view the U.S. tax system," stated Cathy Koch, EY Americas tax policy leader. "Across party lines, [they] remain convinced that the tax system is not fair, and the TCJA did not change that perception. It will be interesting to see how this perception affects political debate and even tax policy as millennials become policymakers in the coming decades.”

Sixty-six percent of millennials also believe that large corporations currently pay too little in taxes, while 49 percent believe that lower-income Americans pay too much. Interestingly, 50 percent of millennials polled felt that the amount of federal income tax they pay is "about right."

Other notable findings from the survey include:

  • 74 percent of millennials claim to know at least "a little" about the TCJA — 33 percent admit to knowing only "a little"; 29 percent claim to have "some" knowledge and how it will impact them; and 12 percent claim they know "a lot" about the TCJA.
  • 61 percent of millennials believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 63 percent in 2016; 87 percent of Democrats believe this in 2018, compared to 23 percent of Republicans.
  • Most millennials (75 percent) worry "a lot or some" about a lack of social security at the time of their retirement. Other high-ranking worries include America's growing debt and not having enough money at retirement.
  • 42 percent of millennials describe the current U.S. economy as excellent or good; 54 percent describe it as fair to poor.
  • 80 percent of millennials say student loans have delayed their home ownership.
  • 47 percent of those polled claim they have no student loan debt, with 50 percent currently paying off student debt or planning to take more on soon.
  • More millennial women (53 percent) than men (41 percent) consider pay equity to be a top concern in their careers.
  • 86 percent of millennials believe that working hard is vital to success in life.
  • 36 percent of polled millennials believe that sticking with one company and climbing the corporate ladder is the best way to advance their careers; 21 percent feel that moving from job to job is best, with another 21 percent claiming that more education and job training is key.
  • 19 percent of millennials work in the gig economy, up from 8 percent in 2015.
  • 58 percent of millennials believe they are more entrepreneurial than previous generations.

For the full report, head to EY's site here.

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