Tax tricksters: How Americans say they cheated on their taxes
With taxOpens a New Window. season well underway, many Americans spent this year – like every other – attempting to limit their liabilitiesOpens a New Window. as much as possible.
Nearly half of people surveyed by financial software provider Quicken – formerly owned by Intuit – said they had some anxiety about this year’s filing season – the first under the new tax law.
But just how far are people willing to go to trim some money off of their tax bill? Apparently, some are willing to cross the line of what’s legal in order to pay less in taxes.
Here’s how Americans admit to having cheated on their tax returns, as reported by Quicken.
Just don’t pay
Eleven percent of survey respondents – about one-in-10 – said they skipped out on paying taxes altogether at some point in their lives. Men were more likely to cop to this – with 15 percent saying they have done so – compared to 8 percent of women.
But this is a gamble, because failure to pay your taxes comes with a penalty – 0.5 percent of the taxes not paid. The penalty is weighed each month after the due date until the bill is paid or the levy reaches 25 percent of unpaid taxes.
While fewer people are expected to itemize this filing season – thanks to a substantial increase in the standard deduction – many in the past have played around with deductions in order to get a higher refund.
About 6 percent of people admit to getting “creative” with deductions in order to boost those checks. As previously reported by FOX Business, some of the more bizarre deductions claimed by taxpayers include breast enhancement surgery, clarinet lessons and cat food.
Another one-in-10 respondents said they exaggerated a charitable donation.
Procrastinated too long?
While there are always those eager filers who get their documents into the IRS early – something experts recommend in order to reduce your chances of falling victim to tax-related identity theft – there are also always procrastinators among us. Forty-three percent of people said they have waited in line at the post office on tax day to get that postmark. Meanwhile, 17 percent have submitted their documents online after 11 p.m. on the final filing day.
Another 7 percent of people say they have actually fudged a postmark in order to avoid being late on their taxes.
While some people might be willing to take risks with their finances, here’s a reminder of some of the IRS penalties you could be at risk for if you fail to follow the rules.