April 4, 2008

Say Tax Cheating is Wrong

79%

Eight-in-ten Americans (79%) say they consider not reporting all income on one’s tax returns to be morally wrong, while just 5% consider it morally acceptable and 14% say it’s not a moral issue.

If you’ve been hassling with your tax return as the April 15 filing deadline approaches, you may be interested to know that eight-in-ten of your fellow citizens (79%) consider not reporting all income on one’s taxes to be morally wrong, while just 5% consider it morally acceptable and 14% say it’s not a moral issue. (The only behavior on a list tested in a Pew Social Trends Survey that drew more moral condemnation than cheating on one’s taxes is cheating on a spouse. Some 88% say it is morally wrong for married people to have an affair, while 3% say it is morally acceptable and 7% say it is not a moral issue.) Of course, moral disapproval is one thing, behavior another. The IRS’s most recent estimate of the gross “tax gap” — the difference between what taxpayers should have paid and what they actually paid on a timely basis in 2001 — comes to some $345 billion, of which IRS enforcement activities and other late payments recovered about $55 billion. Read More