Lying on taxes: Who’s guilty?

Americans 4 times more likely to cheat on their partner than the IRS

Last updated:

Woman in front of laptop

Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

It’s tax time, which means W-2s, proof of health insurance and sniffing out deductions. But have you ever been tempted to fudge those deductions — for instance, said you gave to charity when you didn’t, or maybe didn’t declare a little income from your side hustle? If you’re anything like the vast majority of Americans, the answer is probably not, according to the latest research from Finder.

Somewhat surprisingly, only 8.8 million Americans, or 3.44% of Americans, admit to cheating on their taxes. That’s not to say that we don’t cheat: Some 34.1 million Americans, or 13.38% of Americans, admit to cheating on their significant other. Incredibly, Americans are 4 times more likely to cheat on their partner than the IRS.

Men more likely to cheat on their taxes

It’s sad to say, but when it comes to taxes, men are more dishonest than women, with men almost 60% more likely to lie on their taxes than women are.

As far as cheating on their significant other is concerned, the gap is far narrower between the sexes. Men are more likely to admit to cheating, but only by about 13%.

The older you are, the more likely you’ll lie on your taxes?

Maybe it’s because they have more or maybe it’s a generational thing, but the general trend says the older you are, the more likely you are to cheat on your taxes.

According to our survey, roughly 7.3% of the silent generation says they cheat on their taxes. Following this generation is 4.9% of baby boomers, with millennials bucking the trend at 2.4%.

As with the genders, cheating on your significant other is the great unifier, with more than 14% of Gen X and Gen Y admitting to cheating on their partner and over 15% of Gen Z and the silent generation saying the same. The only, ahem, loyal generation appears to be baby boomers, of which only 9.3% admit to stepping out on their relationship.

Wild West cheats best

If HBO’s Deadwood taught us anything, it’s that the West is known for gunslingers, outlaws and saloons filled with people cheating at cards. But that series was set 150 some odd years ago, and today people who duck their taxes have replaced those old card sharks, with 4.7% of Americans in the West admitting to cheating on their taxes. Closely following is the Midwest (3.4%), the South (3.33%) and the Northeast (2.08%).

While those from the West are most likely to cheat on their taxes, people from the Midwest who are most likely to step out on their significant other. Some 15.0% of those in the Midwest admit to cheating on their partner, followed by those from the Northeast (13.4%), the West (13.1%) and the South (12.2%).

Does your credit score affect whether you’ll cheat on your taxes?

You can just picture someone in a top hat and monocle thinking, “Of course, people with lower credit scores are going to cheat on their taxes.” The truth is, there isn’t any correlation between your credit score and whether you fib when filing your taxes.

That said, people with very good credit scores are most likely to cheat on their taxes (5.74%), while those with good credit scores are least likely to do so (1.68%).

What will you do with your tax return?

Using your tax return money for a spending spree is an easy trap to fall into, because your return can sometimes feel like free cash. But most Americans don’t squander their returns, with almost 32% saying they plan to put that money straight into savings.

The next most common use of these funds is to pay down credit card debt (16.5%), followed by putting the money into a discretionary or “mad money” fund.

Methodology

For media inquiries:

Allan Givens headshot

Allan Givens
Public Relations Manager
203-818-2928
allan.givens@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

Nicole Gallina headshot

Nicole Gallina
Communications Coordinator
347-677-4931
nicole.gallina@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

Image: Getty

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site