Yes, tucked in the subconscious reaches of your brain is a notion that taxes are a social good. The problem for tax writers: The tax code is so complex that people do not associate the communal value with tax payments.
The paper - ”Tax affinity hypothesis: Do we really hate paying taxes?” - was published in February by a professor and a former student at Wesleyan University in the Journal of Economic Psychology.
The authors’ “tax affinity” argues that while people would rather keep their tax dollars, and spend them on themselves, paying tax dollars “is not equivalent to throwing the money away.”
For starters, the authors argue there are social benefits the brain recognizes that apply to taxes. There’s a “warm glow” feeling derived from paying taxes to improve others’ well being. People dislike inequality and want to maintain a good self-image, meaning people are surprisingly unlikely to cheat on their taxes, the authors said.