The IRS Oversight Board has released its annual Taxpayer Attitude Survey. According to the survey, the percent of taxpayers who find it acceptable to cheat on their income taxes increased from 9 percent in 2008 to 13 percent in 2009. The 2009 survey was based on interviews of 500 men and 500 women during August 2009.
Tolerance for cheating rises
Approximately 9 percent of survey respondents believe “a little” cheating on an income tax return is tolerable, and 4 percent endorse “as much cheating as possible.” The percentage of respondents who said that cheating was “not at all” acceptable decreased from a high of 89 percent to 84 percent in 2009.
At the same time, 95 percent of respondents completely or mostly agreed that “it is every American’s civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes.” Moreover, 92 percent agreed that cheaters should be held accountable. Fear of an audit has the greatest influence over individuals’ honest reporting of their taxes.
The percent of taxpayers viewing various IRS services as very important generally declined across-the-board. For example, 70 percent of respondents (down from 78 percent in 2008) found it very important for the IRS to have a toll-free helpline. Additionally, there was a drop from 69 to 64 percent of respondents who viewed it very important for a website to provide information, and a drop from 55 percent to 46 percent of respondents who viewed it as very important to have community tax clinics.