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Study shows that 6 percent of Americans cheat on their taxes

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2018 | Tax Law

If you were to hazard a guess, do you think that Americans are less likely to cheat on their diets, academic tests, romantic partners or taxes?

The answer may surprise you–a recent study has shown that Americans are far less likely to cheat on their tax returns than they are on any of the other options.

The percentage of tax cheaters

The study was conducted by the personal finance company Credit Karma, which polled over 2,000 of its customers. According to Credit Karma’s findings, only six percent of American taxpayers admitted to knowingly cheating on their taxes. If this statistic is to be believed, then a whopping 94 percent of Americans are perfectly honest about their tax returns. By comparison, 20 percent of respondents admitted cheating on a partner, 25 percent had cheated on a test or exam and 56 percent admitted to cheating on a diet. Even though 82 percent of respondents felt that cheating on a partner is worse than cheating on taxes, cheating on a partner is far more common.

low estimate?

Credit Karma’s study provides a general picture of the frequency of tax-related cheating, but this study should be taken with a grain of salt. The survey’s figure of six percent may actually be on the low side. It is possible that more Americans cheat on their taxes than they let on. The study gives two reasons why:

  • Tax-related cheating may have been underreported in the survey because respondents feared running afoul of the IRS. After all, cheating on a diet or on a spouse is perfectly legal, but cheating on taxes is a federal crime.
  • Some of the respondents may have fudged their taxes without believing it to be cheating. This is because some survey-takers admitted to committing minor tax infractions like underreporting side income, padding their deductions or credits and omitting tip money.