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Taxpayers See Cheating on Taxes as Unacceptable

January 11, 2011

The IRS Oversight Board has just released its 2010 Taxpayer Attitude Survey, and it has some surprising findings.

According to the survey, 87 percent of those polled view cheating on income taxes as “not at all” acceptable, a 3 percentage point boost from last year. The board has been conducting the annual survey since 2002.

Personal integrity apparently stands out as a strong factor in tax compliance, with 80 percent of the respondents claiming that personal integrity has a great deal of an influence on reporting and paying their taxes honestly. Third-party reporting of income has a great deal of influence for 39 percent of respondents, while fear of an audit greatly influences 35 percent.

Seventy-six  percent of the survey respondents believe it is “very important” that the IRS provides a toll-free telephone number, while 70 percent find it very important that the IRS provides a Web site and 65 percent find it very important that the IRS provides office locations where taxpayers can receive assistance.

A sizable majority of those surveyed “completely” or “mostly” agree that the IRS should receive extra funding to assist taxpayers (61 percent) and enforce the tax laws (58 percent).

Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed correctly identified Congress as the body responsible for writing the federal tax laws. (Good for them, as some might believe it’s the IRS. But then what about all those Rev. Procs.?)

Competency and ethical behavior by tax preparers is viewed as “very” or “somewhat” important to 94 percent of those surveyed.

To check out more of the survey results, visit the board online at

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