Which One of Your Co-Workers is the Tax Cheat?

Tax Cheat Most of us are hard workers who are very conscience about making sure the government gets its due, whether we feel it's a fair share or not. But according to a recent survey, 15 percent of us admit to cheating on taxes, and that percentage is likely to be made up of young-ish single guys.

A recent DDB survey revealed that demographically, the biggest difference between cheaters and non-cheaters is gender. Of all those who admitted to cheating, 64 percent are men who are probably single and under the age of 45.

But there are other differences between cheaters and the more honest. "One might assume that tax cheaters would have lower income levels than non-cheaters and that cheating on their taxes is an attempt to hold onto every cent they have coming to them," said James Lou, U.S. chief strategist, DDB. "We've found that there are no major differences in income between tax cheaters and non-cheaters. However, there are significant differences in how they make their income last and how they view themselves."

Forty-two percent of self-identified likely tax cheaters described their financial situation as "one missed paycheck away from disaster" compared to 29 percent of non-likely tax cheaters. Also, cheaters are more likely to spend their money than save it, with 45 percent describing themselves as '"a spender rather than a saver'" vs. 32 percent of non-cheaters.

"One possible explanation for tax cheaters' greater spending habits is that there is an overall belief that they are better than others and deserve to get whatever they want," added Lou. "We found that those who indicated they would likely cheat on their taxes also indicated that they are 'overall better than most people' at 46 percent vs. the non-cheaters at only 27 percent. Tax cheaters are also more likely to believe that they are 'special and deserve to be treated that way' than non-cheaters (52 percent vs. 42 percent)."

In addition, the DDB Life Style Study revealed that tax cheaters are significantly more inclined to engage in immoral behavior in other areas of their life. "Their willingness to cheat is not limited to their taxes but spans a wide range of situations and behavior where they are looking to get away with something," said Lou.

"While it's understandable that no one likes to pay taxes, we were surprised to find that tax cheaters' overall willingness to engage in other unethical and illegal behavior is perhaps justified simply by their belief that they are special and deserve special treatment," said Lou.

So now you know. If one of your colleagues is bragging to you about his illicit tax returns, he's probably bragging to someone else about how he cheats you and the rest of his co-workers.

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