Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Tax cheats: Single, young and male

Tax cheaters are single, young men based on the latest survey. By Blake Ellis, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The typical American tax cheat is male, single and under the age of 45.

At least that's what an annual survey by DDB Worldwide Communications Group found.

"The overall characteristics of this particular minority group are surprising -- and in some cases, a little unsettling," DDB concluded.

While only 15% of Americans surveyed fessed up to fudging their tax returns, 64% of those people were men, according to the survey of consumer attitudes and behavior. Thirty-five percent were single (47% when including people who have been divorced or widowed), and 55% were under the age of 45.

These percentages were all significantly higher for the self-proclaimed cheaters than for the non-cheaters, indicating that Americans who cheat on their taxes are much more likely to fall into these three categories than those who don't, the survey found.

Many cheaters also try to justify their behavior. Far more tax cheats said they are 'overall better people' and that they are 'special and deserve to be treated that way', compared to the people who said they don't cheat.

And it's not just taxes that they are dishonest about.

"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 James Lou, U.S. chief strategist at DDB.

While 73% of cheaters admitted to working a job under the table, only 20% of non-cheaters did. Self-proclaimed cheaters are also much more likely to keep the wrong change given to them by a cashier, to ask a friend to pretend to be a former boss for a reference check and to lie about their income to qualify for government aid.

Many of them also said they would wear an outfit once and return it, file false insurance claims, keep money they see someone drop on the floor, or lie about finding something inappropriate in their food just to get a free meal.

Tax cheaters are even more likely to steal money from a child. The survey found that while only 3% of non-cheaters would ever take money from their child's piggy bank, 28% of cheaters said they would.

"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.

In addition, most tax cheats are also likely to be splurgers -- with 45% of them identifying themselves as "spenders rather than savers" compared to 32% of non-cheaters.

And the cheating isn't limited to either the rich or the poor. The survey found that people who cheat on their taxes generally have the same income levels as those who don't. To top of page

 
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.83%3.86%
15 yr fixed2.95%2.94%
5/1 ARM3.13%3.05%
30 yr refi3.95%3.98%
15 yr refi3.05%3.05%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,643.01 -11.76 -0.07%
Nasdaq 4,828.33 15.62 0.32%
S&P 500 1,988.87 1.21 0.06%
Treasuries 2.19 0.02 0.83%
Data as of 9:44pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 10.50 0.31 3.04%
Bank of America Corp... 16.36 -0.08 -0.49%
Apple Inc 113.29 0.37 0.33%
Intel Corp 28.42 0.70 2.53%
Alcoa Inc 9.41 0.55 6.21%
Data as of Aug 28

Sections

Efforts to unionize low-wage employees of fast-food franchisees and outside contractors get lift from decision of NLRB. More

The U.S. economy has performed well this year. But there's lots of global gloom. Which will influence the Fed the most? More

The market volatility in China and the U.S. could hit private companies, especially late-stage unicorns. More

How do you run a successful crowdfunding campaign? Indiegogo's CEO Slava Rubin offers his top tips and mistakes to avoid. More

Looking for something good on Netflix? These entertaining films will help you learn more about finance and investing. More