American taxpayer support for overall tax compliance has reached an all-time high, according to an annual survey commissioned by the IRS Oversight Board.
The survey found that nearly nine out of 10 Americans (88 percent) felt that it is not at all acceptable to cheat on income taxes, the highest level recorded since tracking began in 1999 and up two points from 2004.
The board's 2005 taxpayer attitude survey tracks public sentiment towards noncompliance, and also measures public opinion on a variety of other areas such as IRS customer service offerings, taxpayer satisfaction with IRS interactions, and funding for the agency. The survey was conducted by NOP World.
Support for turning in tax cheaters also surpassed last year's record high, with nearly one of every three taxpayers (30 percent) agreeing that it is everyone's personal responsibility to report anyone who cheats on their taxes, a six point increase from 2004 and 11 points from 2003.
"There seems to be many more taxpayers who believe it's important to follow the rules and pay what's owed than there are those who feel it is okay to get a free ride -- that's great news," said board chairman Raymond T. Wagner Jr., in a statement.
The study found that 78 percent of taxpayers are satisfied overall with their personal interactions with the IRS, down from last year and four points less than 2003. And according to the study, 67 percent of taxpayers believe the IRS should receive extra funding for taxpayer assistance, while 63 percent favor additional funding for enforcement. Wagner said that the board feels strongly that one of its most important responsibilities is finding a balance between enforcement and customer service.
The full survey is available at www.treas.gov/irsob/releases/2006/02212006.pdf .
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