Slideshow The taxpayer's perspective on tax season

Published
  • April 14 2017, 7:16pm EDT

As tax season heads to its inevitable conclusion, Adobe Digital Insights released "Tax Day 2017," a report based on data from a mid-March survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers, as well as data from billions of Web site visits, social media posts and more from 2014 to 2017.

The results offer great insights into how taxpayers look at tax season, their major pain points, and what they want from the tax prep process.

It doesn't get much worse ...

While taxpayers found a few things that were worse than filing their taxes, they still think it's worse than taking or retaking their driver's test at the DMV, visiting the doctor, and working overtime.

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Good news for tax pros

Overall, taxpayers were less likely to visit online tax prep sites last year, and that trend continued in the early part of this year's tax season, with nearly half (47 percent) of filers planning to use a tax pro in 2017, according to Adobe.

Dreaded documents

The average consumer spends six hours completing their filing, according to Adobe's report, and gathering their source documents is a big part of the hassle, with the average taxpayer having to gather nine different forms.

Old problems and new ones

Handling source documents remains difficult, whether they're paper or digital.

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Refunds are already spoken for

The pleasure of a refund often takes some of the sting out of the taxpaying process, but this year, three-quarters of taxpayers expect to spend theirs on bills or school, or to save it.

Not so different from preparers

Like many tax preparers, taxpayers most commonly cope with the stress of tax season with junk food; fortunately, relatively few responded that they had "taken my frustrations out on a loved one."

A bright spot

Not many people prepare their taxes on their smartphones (see next chart), but they're having more success according to Adobe's research, with completion rates rising, while online tax filing completions have dropped overall in the past two years.

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Room for growth

Desktop computers still dominate DIY tax prep submissions; interestingly, consumers tend to use their smartphones almost twice as much early in the season, according to Adobe.