With tax season officially underway, there are some Americans who may plan on trying to cheat Uncle Sam by dodging their obligations.
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Though while some Americans admit to cheating on their taxes every now and then, a majority of people remain diligent about complying with U.S. tax laws, according to the IRS.
About 83.6 percent of taxes are typically paid voluntarily and on time, according to the tax agency, which analyzed data from tax years 2011 through 2013. That’s roughly the same as a prior estimate from 2008 through 2010 of 83.8 percent.
After enforcements were taken into account, about 85.8 percent of taxes were eventually paid.
Overall, the net average tax gap was estimated at $381 billion per year.
Though the numbers have held relatively steady over the years, former IRS executives have warned that compliance may start to dwindle as the IRS loses both resources and staff members.
The agency’s budget fell by about $2.6 billion between fiscal 2011 through 2019. Its 2019 budget is smaller than its fiscal 2000 budget when inflation is factored in, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote in a recent report. At the same time, staffing has been reduced by more than 20 percent over the same time period.
The agency got rid of about 18,000 full-time positions between 2010 and the start of 2018. In 2017 alone, 6,801 permanent jobs were eliminated.
The number of auditors has dropped about 30 percent since 2010 – falling under 10,000 for the first time since 1953 last year – to 9,510, according to ProPublica.
Americans have admitted to cheating on their taxes using a variety of tactics, including just not paying, getting creative with deductions and fudging postmarks.
As previously reported by FOX Business, there was also a decline in the number of Americans who said it was unacceptable to fudge their taxes a bit.
The IRS Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey released in May found that the number of Americans who think it’s “not acceptable at all” to cheat on income taxes fell to 85 percent, from 88 percent the year prior.
It is worthwhile to note, however, that those who are caught face penalties: If you fail to pay your taxes, the penalty is 0.5 percent of the taxes not paid.
The penalty is weighed each month after the due date until the bill is paid or the levy reaches 25 percent of unpaid taxes. You are also on the hook for failing to pay the proper estimated tax.