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A recent survey by DDB Worldwide Communications Group found that there was no relationship between income level and cheating on taxes. Some cheat, most don’t, but there was no evidence that “those rich people” or “those poor people” were more likely to fudge part of their tax return.

What the survey did find, though, was that if there is a profile for a tax cheat, it is a single male under the age of 45.

Only 15% of the taxpayers in the survey said that they cheat on their taxes. Of those who said they cheated, 64% were men. Single people accounted for 35% (or 47% when including people who were widowed or divorced), and 55% were under the age of 45.

Most of the tax cheats thought of themselves as special, and that they deserved special treatment. They held this view at a much higher rate than the non-cheaters.

The survey also found that tax cheats tend to be dishonest about other things too. The survey found that the tax cheats were much more likely to lie about qualifications for government benefits, to keep the wrong change given to them by a cashier, and even to ask a friend to pretend to be a former boss for an employment reference.

Tax cheats were more likely to:

  • Keep money they saw someone drop on the floor
  • File false insurance claims
  • Wear clothes once and return them
  • Pretend to find something wrong with their food in a restaurant

Orange County tax attorneys were surprised to see that tax cheats would even take money from their child’s piggy bank; 28% of cheats said they would take the money, while only 3% of non-cheaters said they would do the same.

Source: CNN Money “Tax cheats: Single, young and male” 3/28/2011