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.
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:
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To Louie Arb:
It's just like a conservative to distort the math to fit his assumptions. For your information, my math is absolutely correct. I assumed a 9% flat tax rate with no deductible income, since a standardized tax deduction of 15k won't really make a tax policy "flat" due to the fact you are effectively withholding 15k as tax-exmpt. As for my calculations:
A family of 4 making $2,000/mo would make $24,000/yr, making their monthly tax rate at 9% as $180 (which is the rate I was quoting), or a yearly tax rate of $2,160/yr. $180 per month may not sound like much, but if you look at how much more they would have to pay yearly versus a current effective tax rate of 0%, it's quite a bit more. Oh, and as for food stamps, you should be aware that not all grocery stores and supermarkets accepts them, and neither do most restaurants or even fast food places, so if the head of that family have to work during the day and buy lunch at say, McDonald's, he would still have to spend his own money.
For a single guy making $15,000/yr, that's $180,000/yr, making his effective monthly tax rate at 9% as $1,350 (which is the rate I was quoting), or a yearly tax rate of $16,200. Under this plan, it would be a significant decrease in taxes compared with what he would pay now. Assuming 15K in standard deductions and no other deductions, his effective tax rate would be somewhere between 25%-30%, with a maximum marginal tax rate of 35% for income above $125,000. In other words, a flat tax would reduce the rich, single guy's tax rate by 50-66%, while increasing the tax rate of the poor family of 4 by more than 2000%!
You had purposely skewed the relatively simple (and correct) calculations I had made by comparing the monthly tax rate of a poor family to the yearly tax rate of a wealthy man to make it appear as if the wealthy man paid 90x more tax than the poor family, even he actually pays just 7.5x as much as the poor family. If you break down the fact that the poor family of 4 have 4 mouths to feed whereas the wealthy guy only has to take care of himself, then the wealthy guy only pays 2x as much taxes as the family per capita, whereas he makes 7.5x as much money per capita. A flat tax would help the rich and punish the poor no matter how you look at it.
investment income provides jobs because the investments allow companies to expand requiring more workers. pretty simple really
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