TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, January 10, 2011

IRS Releases 2010 Taxpayer Attitude Survey

IRS Oversight The IRS Oversight Board today released the results of its 2010 Taxpayer Attitude Survey of 1,000 respondents. This is the ninth year the board has conducted the survey.
  • How much, if any, do you think is an acceptable amount to cheat on your income taxes? A little here and there, 8% (down 1 percentage point from last year).
  • How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS does each of the following to ensure that all taxpayers honestly pay what they owe -- Ensures high-income taxpayers are reporting and paying their taxes honestly? Very important, 78% (all-time low, down 5%)
  • How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS does each of the following to ensure that all taxpayers honestly pay what they owe -- Ensures small businesses are reporting and paying their taxes honestly? Very important, 73% (down 3%)
  • How much influence does each of the following factors have on whether you report and pay your taxes honestly -- Fear of an audit? Great deal of influence, 35% (down 4%)
  • How much influence does each of the following factors have on whether you report and pay your taxes honestly -- Belief that your neighbors are reporting and paying honestly? Great deal of influence, 21% (up 4%)

Another batch of results indicate that taxpayers are more self-reliant in preparing their tax returns:

  • How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS provides each of the following services to assist taxpayers -- A toll-free telephone number to answer your questions?  Great deal of influence, 76% (up 6%)
  • How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS provides each of the following services to assist taxpayers -- Office locations you can visit where an IRS representative will answer your questions?  Great deal of influence, 65% (up 6%)
  • How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS provides each of the following services to assist taxpayers -- Opportunities for electronic filing of tax returns? Great deal of infuence, 69% (all-time high, up 3%).
  • How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS provides each of the following services to assist taxpayers -- A computer terminal located in a kiosk at a library or shopping mall? Great deal of influence, 31% (all-time low, down 6%)
  • How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS provides each of the following services to assist taxpayers -- A tax assistance van that visits locations not convenient to IRS offices to provide information and assistance?  Great deal of influence, 45% (up 5%)
  • How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS provides each of the following services to assist taxpayers -- Community-based tax clinics at convenient locations, such as schools, community centers, libraries, etc.?  Great deal of influence, 49% (up 3%)
  • How likely would you be to use each of the following services for help with a tax issue -- A toll-free telephone number to answer your questions?  Very likely, 57% (up 8%)
  • How likely would you be to use each of the following services for help with a tax issue -- Office locations you can visit within 30 to 60 minutes travel time where an IRS representative will answer your questions?  Very likely, 38% (up 3%)
  • How likely would you be to use each of the following services for help with a tax issue -- Office locations you can visit within 30 to 60 minutes travel time where an IRS representative will answer your questions?  Very likely, 22% (up 2%)
  • How likely would you be to use each of the following services for help with a tax issue -- A computer terminal located in a kiosk at a library or shopping mall?  Very likely, 20% (up 2%)
  • How likely would you be to use each of the following services for help with a tax issue -- A tax assistance van that visits locations not convenient to IRS offices to provide information and assistance?  Very likely, 21% (same)
  • How likely would you be to use each of the following services for help with a tax issue -- Community-based tax clinics at convenient locations, such as schools, community centers, libraries, etc.?  Very likely, 28% (up 1%)

 

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Comments

Did they ask if the IRS should enforce the tax laws against high-ranking Democrats?
Or are the tax laws just for "the little people"?

Posted by: wikiwiki | Jan 10, 2011 6:01:17 PM

I would likely guess that their is survey bias involved here. Just like people not wanting to admit to any other surveys about cheating, crime, etc. Part of the problem with our tax system is the limited and/or self enforcement aspect of it. When people get enforced by others (i.e. audited) they tend to be by the book for the rest of their life. It is funny how that happens.

Posted by: Adam | Jan 11, 2011 12:45:51 PM