We may grouse—a lot—about paying our taxes, but when push comes to shove most people think cheating on your taxes is not OK.
The IRS Oversight Board's annual taxpayer survey finds that 86 percent of Americans thinks it's not at all acceptable to cheat on taxes. Most people surveyed also said they generally agreed that everyone who cheats should be held accountable.
What's more, the vast majority of Americans—95 percent—mostly or completely agree that it's every American's civic duty to pay taxes.
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It's not mainly a fear of getting caught that motivates people to be honest. More than nine in 10 of those surveyed said personal integrity influences whether they honestly report and pay their taxes. By contrast, just six in 10 said fear of an audit influenced their tax compliance.
Americans' attitudes about whether it's OK to fudge their taxes have stayed pretty steady over the years—despite the common complaints about our notoriously confusing tax system.
Experts say that may be because people have conflicting impulses about taxes.
"People may say that they believe in compliance, but that doesn't mean that they do it," said Stuart Green, a law professor at Rutgers School of Law who has studied white-collar crime.
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