We’re way more likely to cheat on a partner than Uncle Sam
Americans are cheaters.
Roughly 6% of Americans admit to having knowingly cheated on their income taxes, according to a survey of 2,000 Americans by personal finance site Credit Karma — though plenty more have likely inadvertently done something shady with their taxes, like forgetting to count all of the freelance income they made.
We cheat Uncle Sam in a variety of ways. Here are the five biggest tax cheats respondents told Credit Karma they’d engaged in:
- 7% didn’t report cash income or money they made under the table
- 7% padded their number of dependents, itemized deductions or tax credits
- 5% omitted tips or gifts they received
- 5% paid someone else under the table or in cash and didn’t report it
- 3% neglected to report gambling winnings
What’s more, that 7% who say they hide cash or money that they made under the table may be conservative. Indeed, about 1 in 4 Americans now has a side hustle, according to a study of 2,245 American adults by Finder.com — and they’re earning an estimated $214.6 billion that they aren’t declaring to the tax man.
Still, we’re way more likely to cheat in other ways than we are on our taxes. Indeed, 25% admit they’d cheated on a test or exam, 20% have been unfaithful to a significant other, and 20% have cheated in trivia or another game, the Credit Karma data found.
We may be more worried about cheating on our taxes than in other ways because of the consequences. Though the audit rates are low — only about 1 million individual income tax returns were audited in fiscal year 2016 — you may face fines up to $250,000 and you could go to prison if you’re dishonest on your income taxes.
Still, tax cheating appeals to even the wealthiest and most famous among us. Among them: Wesley Snipes, Leona Helmsley and Pete Rose.
This story was originally published on Feb. 21, 2018.
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