When citizens know exactly where their tax dollars are going, and exactly how much they pay, they are much more inclined to hold their government accountable and transparent.
A new article in the Kyiv Post, that references a poll conducted by the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE), CASE, an Atlas Network partner, along with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, has revealed just how little Ukrainians know about the taxes they pay. The two organizations surveyed over 2,000 Ukrainians across the country asking respondents “how much they think they pay in taxes, their opinion of taxes, what they think most tax revenues are being spent on, and what they think is a fair tax rate.” The results showed a large gap in knowledge, with over 15 percent of respondents believing they pay no taxes at all, and a majority believing they pay significantly less in taxes than they actually do.
Only 6 percent of respondents correctly identified their tax rate as close to 50 percent of their total income.
The survey also found that many Ukrainians have a negative view of taxation, despite not being aware of how much they actually pay. According to the survey, “only 30 percent of respondents believe that taxes are a contribution to programs that society needs, while about 20 percent called taxes robbery.” A majority also either incorrectly identified where tax revenue was spent or had no idea at all, with 18 percent incorrectly believing that most was used for military spending and over 36 percent not able to answer the question.
CASE hopes that educating Ukrainians about how much they actually pay in taxes will lead to stronger calls for transparency from the public and increased accountability from the state.