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Good Graph Friday: What? Cheat on taxes? Never

IRS Oversight Board

Most Americans think it is absolutely not OK, ever, to cheat on your taxes.

Or at least, that’s what they’re telling the Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board.

An survey of 1,000 Americans, conducted last August by survey firm Omnitel, found the 87 percent of Americans think no amount of cheating is acceptable when it comes to income taxes.

That’s roughly the same response they got in the previous seven years they conducted the survey.

In the 2010 survey, 8 percent said it was OK to cheat “a little here and there,” while 4 percent said you can cheat “as much as possible.” Again, that’s roughly the same as in previous years.

Virtually all of those surveyed also agree that it is every American’s duty to pay their far share of taxes, and that those who cheat should be held accountable.

But only about two-thirds of respondents agreed that it is everyone’s personal responsibility to report other tax cheats.

When it comes to what motivates a person to report their taxes honestly, it seems that being a good person trumps a fear of getting caught.

Eighty percent of people said their personal integrity had a great deal of influence on reporting taxes honestly, while only 35 percent said “fear of an audit” had a great deal of influence.

Do you think people are being honest about their attitude toward cheating on income taxes?

Update: A reader points out that the study was done by the IRS Oversight Board, not the IRS itself.