These Americans are most likely to cheat on their taxes


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Tax Day, typically in April, brings W-2s, proof of health insurance and sniffing out deductions. But have you ever been tempted to fudge those deductions — for instance, say you gave to charity when you didn’t, or maybe neglect to declare a little income from your side hustle? If you’re anything like the vast majority of Americans, the answer is probably not, according to the latest research from Finder.

Somewhat surprisingly, only 8.8 million Americans, or 3.44% of Americans, admit to cheating on their taxes. That’s not to say that we don’t cheat: Some 34.1 million Americans, or 13.38% of Americans, admit to cheating on their significant other. 

Incredibly, Americans are four times more likely to cheat on their partner than the IRS.

Image Credit: Dan Rentea / iStock.

Men more likely to cheat on their taxes

It’s sad to say, but when it comes to taxes, men are more dishonest than women. Men are almost 60% more likely to lie on their taxes than women are.

Image Credit: Finder.

Men are also more likely to cheat on their partners

As far as cheating on their significant other is concerned, the gap is far narrower between the sexes. Men are more likely to admit to cheating, but only by about 13%.

Image Credit: Finder.

The older you are, the more likely you’ll lie on your taxes

Maybe it’s because they have more or maybe it’s a generational thing, but the general trend says the older you are, the more likely you are to cheat on your taxes.

According to our survey, roughly 7.3% of the silent generation says they cheat on their taxes. Following this generation is 4.9% of baby boomers, with millennials bucking the trend at 2.4%.

Image Credit: Finder.

That is not the case for infidelity, however

As with the genders, cheating on your significant other is the great unifier, with more than 14% of Gen X and Gen Y admitting to cheating on their partner and over 15% of Gen Z and the silent generation saying the same. The only, ahem, loyal generation appears to be baby boomers, of which only 9.3% admit to stepping out on their relationship.

Image Credit: Finder.

Wild West cheats best

If HBO’s Deadwood taught us anything, it’s that the West is known for gunslingers, outlaws and saloons filled with people cheating at cards. But that series was set 150 some odd years ago, and today people who duck their taxes have replaced those old card sharks, with 4.7% of Americans in the West admitting to cheating on their taxes. Closely following is the Midwest (3.4%), the South (3.33%) and the Northeast (2.08%).

Image Credit: Finder.

The Midwest cheats on partners best

While those from the West are most likely to cheat on their taxes, people from the Midwest are most likely to step out on their significant other. Some 15% of those in the Midwest admit to cheating on their partner, followed by those from the Northeast (13.4%), the West (13.1%) and the South (12.2%).

Image Credit: Finder.

Does your credit score affect whether you’ll cheat on your taxes?

You can just picture someone in a top hat and monocle thinking, “Of course, people with lower credit scores are going to cheat on their taxes.” The truth is, there isn’t any correlation between your credit score and whether you fib when filing your taxes.

That said, people with very good credit scores are most likely to cheat on their taxes (5.74%), while those with good credit scores are least likely to do so (1.68%).

Image Credit: Finder.

What will you do with your tax return?

Using your tax return money for a spending spree is an easy trap to fall into, because your return can sometimes feel like free cash. But most Americans don’t squander their returns, with almost 32% saying they plan to put that money straight into savings.

The next most common use of these funds is to pay down credit card debt (16.5%), followed by putting the money into a discretionary or “mad money” fund.

Image Credit: Finder.


Our data is based on an online survey of 2,076 U.S. adults born between 1928 and 2002. It was commissioned by Finder and conducted by Pureprofile in February 2020, with representative quotas for gender and age. Participants were paid volunteers.

We assume the 2,076 participants in our survey represent the U.S. population of 255.2 million Americans who are at least 18 years old according to the July 2019 U.S. Census Bureau population estimate. This assumption is made at the 95% confidence level with a 12.45% margin of error.

Our survey asked people whether they have romantically cheated on their significant other, whether they have ever cheated on their taxes and how they plan to spend their tax refund this year.

Respondents chose from 11 spending categories for their tax refund:

  • Medical bills
  • Discretionary/fun spending
  • Credit card debt
  • Student loans
  • Car payment
  • Legal fees
  • Gambling debt
  • Placing it in savings
  • Travel
  • I have never had a tax refund
  • Other

We calculated people who don’t expect a refund this year based on written responses for “Other.”

To avoid skewing the data, we did not include extreme outliers in our calculations.

We define generations by birth year according to the Pew Research Center’s generational guidelines:

  • Gen Z: 1997–2002
  • Millennials: 1981–1996
  • Gen X: 1965–1980
  • Baby Boomers: 1946–1964
  • Silent generation: 1928–1945

We define geographical regions as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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