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More Americans say it's OK to cheat on taxes

The number who advocated cheating 'as much as possible' doubled last year, to 8% of taxpayers. An additional 6% say it's OK to cheat a little.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 2, 2012 7:47PM

This post is by Blaire Brody of The Fiscal Times.

Typically, in the Internal Revenue Service's annual Taxpayer Attitude Survey, those bold Americans who tell the IRS it's OK to cheat "as much as possible" on your  taxes have made up 5% or less of those surveyed since the question was first asked in 2003 -- until the latest survey.


Whether it was anger with government spending, their economic situation or pure brazenness, that group hit 8% in 2011, double what it was in 2010. An additional 6% said a little cheating here and there is OK.


However, the majority of those surveyed said that paying taxes is "every American's civic duty" and that those who cheat should be held accountable -- with a few exceptions. More Americans felt it was important that the IRS force wealthy taxpayers and corporations to pay their fair share, as opposed to small businesses or low-income taxpayers. 


Under the statement "taxpayers should just have to pay what they feel is a fair amount," nearly 30% completely or mostly agreed. (Post continues below video.)

When it comes to the motivation behind paying taxes, the majority of those surveyed cited personal integrity, with the second most-cited reason being the knowledge that third parties are reporting wages and other financial information to the IRS. "Fear of an audit" and belief that your neighbors are reporting and paying honestly were at the bottom.


Despite most Americans' best intentions, the U.S. Treasury claims it loses $250 billion or more a year in tax revenue from unreported income. And 15% of those surveyed in a DDB Worldwide Communications report last year confessed to cheating on their taxes.


Of those, 64% were men, 35% were single and 55% were under the age of 45. Nearly three-fourths of cheaters admitted to working a job under the table. Cheaters were more likely to keep the wrong change from a cashier, lie about their income to qualify for welfare and steal from their own child’s piggy bank (28%).


The sad part is that the cheaters didn’t fudge their taxes for financial reasons -- the DDB survey found that cheaters had similar income levels to honest taxpayers.


More from The Fiscal Times and MSN Money:


Feb 3, 2012 3:49PM
look at all the congressmen and house representives that cheat the government on taxes , why should these sons of bitches be the only ones that can cheat their way out of taxes? 
Feb 3, 2012 3:47PM
They must have taken the survey this year in Washington DC, of representatives, congressmen, cabinet members and government bureaucrats.
Feb 3, 2012 4:13PM

Start looking at the cheaters beginning with the Secretary of the Treasury, Turbo Tax Tim, who is in charge of the IRS. And who appointed him? Your esteemed President of course.


Then there is Charles (I forgot about my Caribbean rentals) Rangel, Head of the Ways and Means Committee, that writes the tax law.



Feb 3, 2012 4:25PM
Whatever the real reason for taxes may be,many taxpayers are feed-up with giving their money to the countries that hate the US and the people here who have never paid any taxes..
Feb 4, 2012 12:59PM
What do you expect when you have a Tax Cheat as head of the IRS
Feb 3, 2012 4:08PM
Americans are ignorant and have been foolishly trapped in the game the government has trained them for.  There was no income tax in this country until 1913 when congress voted to ammend the constitution allowing income taxes/wage garnishment.  Income taxes merely pay the interest the private Central Bank (Federal Reserve) charges the United States citizenry for loaning the governement money.  What we term as currency is nothing more than the debt certificates the central bank issues the government.  Essentially, the Federal Reserve issues loans to the government which the government repays with the peoples wages.  All of it is a complete and total lie fabricated by the government and its banking masters.  Crazy isnt it...   
Feb 3, 2012 3:51PM
Why not! Is the government honest with us or does it incur expenses not authorized by us. Don't give the excuse its our form of government. This sleazy bags do everyhting counter-productive to any realistic way of making a budget and living within it. Fine example, you'd be better off with a baseball player or basketball player to admire. They have the power to over-spend via a printing press. No sane person would ever get into this kind of debt and position. They have screwed the taxpayer and managed to increase their wealth exponentially. What a system and mess they have created, both parties should be ashamed of themselves. So much for THEIR civic duty - again, who do they work for? 
Feb 3, 2012 4:57PM

The day that the politicians live under and abide by the laws that they create, then I will live under and abide by the laws that they create.

Until that day...

Feb 5, 2012 6:12PM

As someone who has never cheated on anything in his life, neither tests, exams nor taxes, I am pretty steamed about the TV ads for accountants who advertise they can drastically reduce the back taxes owed. Excuse me? Isn't that still enabling cheating?


A word of warning. One reason the Greeks got themselves into the fine mess they're in, beyond the overspending, was that anyone who DIDN'T cheat on their taxes was thought a fool. It was so bad even Goldman Sachs had to cook the books for them so the government could cheat in order to finance its debt.


Yes. If we want to avoid winding up like Greece we have to rein in spending and hold government accountable. But we all have to pay our taxes honestly, too. Period.

Feb 3, 2012 9:33PM

I find it somewhat amusing that all of these people who are so outraged by Romney paying about 16% of his income as Federal tax were  nowhere to be found in 2004 when John Kerry was paying the same rate.  At least Romney made his own money.  Kerry just married into his.


Either way, it makes no sense and is flat out wrong!  And in full disclosure, I am a 1%'er.  I lived on scraps for years and sacrificed most of the material things all my peers had while I built my business.  Nobody offered to help me while we scraped by.  Now all of a sudden I'm greedy because I pay 35% federal income tax, 7% FICA, 1.25% Medicare, 6% state tax, plus 7% FICA on my first $110k of income as a business owner.  So before I pay a dime in property or sales tax, I am already on the hook for 51% in various state and federal taxes.


I don't mind paying my fair share, but please don't vilify me as greedy.  I would be willing to pay more in taxes as long as everybody does.  People like Romney, Kerry and Warren Buffet make their income from capital gains.  The easy way to solve the problem is to keep the first $500k or $1 million at the current 15%.  This keeps the average joe who sells an asset from getting hammered (besides, the money they invested which appreciated and produced a gain was already taxed as ordinary income before it was invested).  Any capital gains between $1 million and $2.5 Million could be taxed at 25% and anything above $2.5 million would be taxed at the highest ordinary income tax rate.  This would make sure that billionaires who live off their assets pay decent tax rates.


If you don't understand the difference between capital gains and ordinary income tax rates, you should shut up until you know what you're talking about.


James, OUT!

Feb 3, 2012 4:55PM

"Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar's; and give to God what is God's."

    The I R S  is at best deceitful itself, and like all government agencies in the U.S. , incompetent and criminal.

Feb 3, 2012 9:45PM

Course poltcians like to try to find ways to apply a different set of laws to themselves, then to everyone else....


Oh grow up already.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, whether you have millions in investments or just a little tiny bit, pays the 15% long-term capital gains tax.  The "rich" are not  getting a different lower rate.  Do you libs even UNDERSTAND the difference between Earned Income and Investment Income?  You invest money with dollars you have already paid taxes on.  Do you have a clue why it is important to have all kinds of people, including myself, investing in the market?  Do you have a clue that as your Earned Income rises above the 6 figure #, your ability to deduct stuff is phased out, you may likely be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM) which is the biggest rip off in the world, you get to pay full price for your kids' college education, because gee, even if they have a 35 ACT score and a 4.0 GPA, the "poor" kid with the 18 ACT score and a C average gets the government grants (free money) even though they likely won't ever graduate.  I could go on and on and on, put when YOU work your a$$ off in school and college to get an engineering degree or other demanding one, and work you a$$ off to advance in your career, and spend countless hours educating yourself about investing, and save, save, save for your gdamn retirement and your kids' college education, then come to me and whine about how people who have made something out of themselves don't pay their "fair" share.

Feb 6, 2012 3:32PM
Do any of you realize that this country was founded on bootlegging of alcohol, firearms, and hemp cash crops?  This country was founded because of the ridiculous tax system that the British tried to impose. Best thing to do in this country is stop paying your taxes.  EVERYONE.  Congress, The President, even local and state level politicians are not going to change any laws that will stop them from living off of the people, by the people, on the people.  IF you want to stop what is going on, stand together and stop paying any and all taxes. They can't throw us all in prison. They are overcrowded as it is.  NO MORE PENSIONS, NO MORE BENEFITS, NO MORE SALARIES for Politicians. It is their civic duty to serve the community and not bleed it dry well after they retire. That is the real crime. All the benefits that the rich get from being politicians, and they don't want to give it up. It's time to take if from them. YOUR FIRED!!
Feb 3, 2012 5:34PM
I don't cheat, but I look for every possible allowable deduction.  If they are in the tax code then use them to your advantage.
Feb 6, 2012 2:23PM

I for one pay my taxes...all of it.  I don't want the hassle of an audit.


As to money being wasted by Government....YA...a lot of money is wasted by both parties so you can't point the finger at just one party. 


It frustrates me when a politician has folks directly reporting to him that cheat on their taxes or don't pay all of their taxes.  It also frustrates me when politicians use inside information or their power to create personal wealth.

Feb 3, 2012 7:16PM


@DXZ8643 - Conservatives absolutely believe in equal opportunity.   What you are advocating for is equal outcomes (big difference), and THAT is class warfare.  Get it? 

Feb 3, 2012 9:15PM
It gets to a point that our goverment seems to be cheating us. Our hard earned money just given away at a time when things are tough for all in our country. We have our own to take care of. We cant afford illegal aliens. I know they need help. in good times no problem. In bad times we will do the best we can. (cut backs)????? Same thing with foreign aid, i realize that the foreign aid in a sense helps protect us, however (good times bad times) Duh???? Cut backs. Besides the foreign aid hardly reaches the people it needs to. Kind of like africa, Billons in foreign aid yet people are still in refugee camps, 1st 2nd 3rd and now 4th generation in refugee camps. WTF
Feb 6, 2012 11:05AM
It is not cheating. The government steals your money through a ridiculous tax system that is designed to redistribute wealth.
This mentality drives me nuts.  Guys like this moan about their taxes, but then drive on the interstate, love their military, and post this on the internet, all of which were funded guessed it....taxes!
Hey, if you don't want to pay taxes, stop using the services they've provided.  Do you have kids?  Pay 5k a year and put 'em in private school.  Stop driving on publicly funded roads.  Stop using the internet.  Don't call the police or fire department when you need them.
Feb 3, 2012 4:26PM
Quite simply, when "Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations" pay less in taxes than the average head of household, or no taxes at all, It opens the door for people to justify cheating!
Feb 3, 2012 9:49PM
Very well said James23233

Most on here don't understand what capital gains tax is. I have clients that have a lake cottage they bought back in the late 50's for next to nothing. They paid taxes on it for 50 years. If it weren't for capital gains rates they would be taken to the cleaners when they sold it. These are people of modest means that made a good investment, they need a break. However according to some on here they are not paying their share.
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