Personal Finance

Here's the paperwork we hate doing the most

Mike Kemp | Rubberball | Getty Images

Got your tax return finished yet? How about your performance review? Or your will?

Nobody loves doing paperwork, and certain tasks are especially tempting to put off. But tax season is upon us, and with a nasty winter leaving millions of us cooped up at home, the time is right to deal with all our forms and documents—even those on which we tend to procrastinate.

A survey commissioned by Ricoh, the printer and copier maker, pinpoints which types of paperwork we wish would magically complete themselves.

Tax returns top the list, with 46 percent of respondents saying they would like them to be finished instantly, followed by motor vehicle registration. (Really, who ever wants to make a trip to the DMV?) College applications also made the list, though they bothered far fewer people.

(Read more: Surprise! You might not own your car)

Roughly one-third of respondents wish their wills and living wills would be instantly completed, compared with just 9 percent who feel that way about performance reviews.

"Paper is the bane of most people's existence," said Deborah Gussoff, founder of In Order, a personal organizing service in Montville, N.J.

Part of the problem is that we don't like facing the unpleasant realities some paperwork represents.

"People tend to be very optimistic," Gussoff said. "They say things like 'when I win the lottery' and 'if I die' when in reality, it's the opposite."

Don't make these common tax mistakes
Don't make these common tax mistakes

The Ricoh survey, conducted by Harris, examined other paperwork habits as well.

You probably didn't know that most people strongly prefer a safe deposit box as a repository for important documents—handily beating cloud storage. But you may have suspected that virtually no one counts a divorce decree as their most important document. (That honor goes to family photos.)

(Read more: Save it or toss it—dealing with digital files)

Even in a digital age, we are all inundated with paper documents that are helping to fuel the growth of the so-called home organization product industry. An estimate by The Freedonia Group has the $7.7 billion industry expanding 4 percent a year until 2017.

But as we all know, getting paperwork in on time can have rewards.

Gussoff recalled a client with mounds of medical claims she had never filed. When she finally persuaded the woman to submit them, the first reimbursement was more than $30,000.

—By CNBC's Kelley Holland. Follow her on Twitter @KKelleyHolland.