How Many Americans Are OK Cheating on Their Taxes?

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Roughly 1 in 6 taxpayers admit they believe it is OK to cheat on your taxes, according to the IRS.

As part of the most recent Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey, published in the annual IRS data book, the IRS asked, “What is an acceptable amount to cheat on income taxes?” In 2022, the results were:

  • Not at all: 84%
  • A little here and there: 10%
  • As much as possible: 6%
  • No opinion: 0%

The survey is conducted partially online and partially over the phone, and designed to provide a representative sample of taxpayer opinions. About 1,300 people participated in the 2022 version.

The 84% of taxpayers who said it’s “not at all” acceptable to cheat on taxes is the lowest share in six years, the IRS says. In many previous years, either 87% or 88% said it’s unacceptable to cheat.

The true number of people OK with cheating on taxes may be higher than the survey indicates, given that some people are probably reluctant to admit their stance to the agency they would be cheating.

The survey asks another question that helps provide a fuller picture: whether people agree it is every American’s civic duty to pay taxes. In the most recent survey, only 67% of Americans completely agreed with that statement. Another 26% “mostly agree,” 3% “mostly disagree” and another 3% “completely disagree.”

Lawbreakers who agree it is their civic duty to pay taxes should take note of “5 Things Criminals Have to Pay Income Taxes On.”

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