What’s the demographic profile of a tax cheat? Well, it’s not so different from the type of person who engages in a range of other risky behaviors: young and male.
Sixty-four percent of those who admitted cheating on their taxes were men, while 55 percent were under 45, according to a new survey by DDB Worldwide Communications Group. Overall, 15 percent of respondents confessed to being tax cheats.
And those who try to swindle Uncle Sam may also exhibit some other unattractive traits. Compared to those who play by the rules at tax time, far more tax-cheaters said they’re “overall better people,” and that they’re “special and deserve to be treated that way.”
They’re also more much likely to keep the wrong change given to them by a cashier, get a friend to pretend to be a former boss for a reference check, keep a $20 bill they saw someone drop, file a false insurance claim, and even to lie about their income in order to qualify for government benefits.
And 28 percent of confessed tax cheaters admitted they’d steal money from their kids’ piggy-bank–compared to just 3 percent of non-cheats who said they would.
“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,” James Lou of DDB said.
Those who admit to cheating on their taxes are also more likely to throw their money around. Forty-five percent of them self-identified as “spenders rather than savers,” compared to 32 percent of non-cheaters.
The survey found no major difference in income between those who cheat and those who play it straight. But 42 percent of the former described their financial situation as “one missed paycheck away from disaster,” while just 29 percent of the latter said the same.